Five positives Arsenal can take away from win over Aston Villa

There was some bad stuff to mull over from the game yesterday between Arsenal and Aston Villa but there was also quite a few positives, something that did not look likely after the first 45 minutes.

Nicolas Pepe

He did not have a great game I accept that, but he did score and that could be the kickstart his Arsenal career needs. Sometimes all it needs is a goal, it lifts confidence and gets a hoodoo of ones back and while his overall performance was below par we may look back on this game as the moment things turned for the Ivory Coast forward.

Matteo Guendouzi

Yes, he was ineffective for large parts of the game and ran around like a headless chicken but in the second half he was the driving force, he was the catalyst for the comeback, he made the goal for Chambers and pushed the whole team forward with his energy. It is so easy to forget he is just 20-years-old.


How often have we seen an Arsenal team collapse once it goes wrong? A lot is the answer but not yesterday, they were down to ten men and twice fell behind and yet they still won, this comeback will give the team belief the next time they fall behind or get a player sent off. Yesterday’s win could be more significant than we think.

Unai Emery

You have to be fair with the guy, he got his calls right yesterday, whatever he said in the dressing room at half time worked, his substitutions worked and the players obviously responded to his instructions. He deserves criticism when he gets it wrong and he also deserves praise when he gets it right and yesterday he got it right.

Calum Chambers

He unfairly started on the bench but when he was called upon he did his job and more, he scored the second goal and it was not a straight forward goal either and while he may not be the long term answer in defence he has definitely forced himself into the reckoning for a start next time out. Normally the defenders get ripped and it is nice now and then to be able to praise one of them.


  1. Emery got it right? Emery doesn’t understand premier league, Emery doesn’t understand his players, he doesn’t understand how to use them, he doesn’t understand defensive tactics and he doesn’t understand where the club hope to be. We have more unhappy fans than happy ones. How long are we going to be like this. Brendon Rogers came and Leicester is show signs of improvement even after losing their biggest defender. We play attack well but defend like KIDS!!!!! We have talented players but we are a JOKE

    1. As I’ve realised from many of your previous stupid comments I deduce you’ve got about as much brain as a baby ant.

      So instead of getting annoyed with your latest attempt to be a clever **** with this latest idiotic post of yours I somehow feel sorry for you.

      Maybe you’ll get better when you grow up.

        1. QC – we agree on something! As long as Emery builds his team around Xhaka is as long as we’ll continue to struggle.

  2. i dont get when someone gets to say emery got it right. doesnt that tell you it was wrong from the on set? we dont want half time reaction, we want from the first half a team worthy to play. Sokratis had no business in that set up yesterday. we cant be palying david and sokratis and hopes it work. Guendouzi and xhaka do not dovetail. Torriera makes any of them better. we dont need reactions, but our coach being proactive

    1. There is a saying that doing things the dame way and expecting different results is the beginning of madness. Apparently. they don’t say so where Emery comes from. Otherwise he won’t keep on fielding Luiz and Sokratis together in that back line. None of them can defend.
      I was just looking at that Villa’s second goal again. David Luiz went in with a tentative left foot tackle when what was needed was a full-blooded, well-timed right foot block. So frustrating to watch!
      Is it a mere conincidence that the first and only domestic clean sheef we have kept has come when Chambers played in that central defence?

  3. Emery’s team selection was the pits and he got lucky with his substitutions, that’s all. He looked clueless on the sidelines, so I don’t think he had much to say in the dressing room. It could have been the players themselves.

  4. I worry when i hear Arsenal fans say Guen runs around like a headless chicken. They forget he plays alongside Xhaka who is more or less immobile. You cant get the best out of Guendouzi or even Torreira for that matter when you pair them either of them beside Xhaka because you will have them doing his job and theirs. Play Guendouzi alongside Torreira and watch him marshall the midfield marvellously. We had a stable midfield against Burnley and in the last 18 minutes of the Aston villa game _ the periods Xhaka was off the pitch.

    1. I think one thing should be clear though. What is actually Guenduozy’s position and responsibility. People say that he is very good for his age, but when he played carelessly people say that it’s normal for his age. I think when a player is chosen over the others to be in the starting XI,let alone regularly, it doesn’t matter anymore whether he is 17 or 37. He has to show why he is better than the ones on the bench. That’s it. Good is good, bad is bad, not good for his age but normal to play badly as he’s still young. The question is if he does what he’s supposed to do or not. Is he more attacking, defending or the one who should control it? Does he do his job?
      Just because a defender scores, assists, or dribbles well doesn’t make him a good one. His job is defending while scoring would only make him even better.
      Take Auba for example, he could be quiet for most of the game and shows only a few minutes of great moment when he scores, for me it means he is a great one as it’s clear that he does his job well.

    2. Guendouzi was bad first half. First goal was his fault, and his tracking back remains shoddy. I like his drive very much, but the defensive side of his game really is “running around like a headless chicken”.

      1. You’re absolutely right.

        When people complain Ozil doesn’t run, they basically refer to his completely ineffective defensive runs, which have a good mileage but no effect.

        Guendouzi is still young, but for now he needs a proper defensive midfielder next to him and NOT Xhaka.

    3. Well said. The only thing Emery did right was brought in Torreira to replace Xhaka!
      With Torreira, Guendouzi and Willock were free to roam Villa’s half. And at the same time, the defense looked a lot more solid with Torreira as the DM!
      Emery doesn’t deserve in the list of +ives.
      I actually think Luiz could do a better job as DM. He has the thru pass ability and certainly will add muscle and tackle ability to our mid-field which will bring better protection to our back line than Xhaka.
      Then, we can rotate, Holdings, Chambers, Sokratis and even Mustafi for CB!

      1. If Emery fails to promote and develop Mavropanos, our most talented defender who is now fit (!), he should just go and F… off.

        Seriously, I would take even Freddie instead of him if that happens.

        We already lost Bielyk, and if we also don’t give a proper chance to Mavro, it means we’re essentially a richer version of West Ham.

        And Emery thought Reiss Nelson was more promising than Sako??
        And that Xhaka is better than Torreira?

        Losing patience with this foolish man.

  5. Nice that some in here actually are positive. Most of the time it has turned into the most negative forum, you can imagine.
    The fact is, we had around 40 min. of horrible display, and around 50 min. good. And in the latter, we were down to 10 men.
    We were actually better, once AMN was sent off.

        1. Precisely LCM. That was when it seemed like a resurgence of energy throughout the team. You and Sparkles (his comment is just above) have got Xhaka’s influence on the team down perfectly.

        2. Arsenal will decide Emery’s future at the end of this season; when they decide whether or not to extend his contract for the third year. Nothing anyone on here says will influence that decision.
          I agree with Anders, the negativity on this site, even after a win with 10 men and being fourth in the table with so much of the season to come. is depressing.
          And people on here denigrate AFTV!

  6. Well, if the players responded to his tactics, the first half display says it all.

    Yet again we were completely outplayed, outhought, outmanouvered, outfought (the 100% work rate measurement), despite having more talented players, playing at home and against another team in the bottom three.

    The second half performance was from the players finally showing they have got some personal pride and had nothing to do with this coach getting it right…if that was the case, we wouldn’t have had to come back twice anyway!!!

    What I will say is that the performance of the “officials” were an absolute disgrace and yet again we are punished by this band of second class group of non performing clowns.

    As a footnote, leaving Ozil on the bench….whether one likes him or not. …proves we also have a coach who tells porky pies.
    He was obviously ready to play, but emery decided to go back on his previous statement and humiliated the player yet again.

    UE is a complete and utter disaster for this club, no tactics, no defence, no ideas, favourite players, other players being ignored or left out and the most awful uninspiring football ever seen for decades.

    No more excuses, just get the man OUT NOW!!!

      1. Yes another thumbs up ? couldn’t say it better Ken (a few more swear words but not better).
        Blokes out of his depth here and it shows.

    1. Hello Ken1945. I have always respected your well reasoned views. However today I will differ from you on your declaration that Emery should be got rid of now. My view is that we give him chance but we put him him on notice that if he doesn’t improve his performances he will be terminated.

      1. Hello again David and thanks to you, Sue, Dan and Viju for your comments.

        Davix, can I ask you how long you think we shkuld give UE?

        I have seen nothing that’s changec from the dismal ending fo last season and the first games so far this season.

        Where is the improvement?

        It’s not in tactics, defence, midfield, player selection, substitutions or individual game plans, so I fail to see what he can achieve that will improve things.

        Chambers is a classic example of UE’s thinking…a great first game and then dropped to accommodate his twosignings luiz and sokratis.
        Ozil is anotber, 70 minutes of good football, linking well with Cabs and creating good football…once again dropped and we then see Watford (bottòm of the league) and Villa (third from bottom) outthink us, outplay us, create more chances and…this is the real rub…play better football than us.

        So, when do we say enough is enough, something that quite a lot of posters have been saying since midway through his first seasom?

        O.T. This agu emen guy is a complete imposter, just read what he is actually saying and ask if it makes sense…my take on this joker is he’s a closeted spud, who tries to get responses simply because he’s a sad little boy playing with the cock(erill) on his shirt….this is not how I normally think, so it just goes to show how muchUE has REALLY pi***d me off!!!!

    2. Villa’s goals were well worked goals, the first one we should have went with runners picked up danger men but that was some pass he whipped that it was gonna be putting us in trouble even if our defenders did pick them up. Second one Chambers fluffed a bit but we had men back and the guy out wide had a run on his marker, could’ve done better esp Leno and Sok I think it was, but these goals happen in a football game I wouldn’t put them in the same category as the other yolks we were giving away. Fair play to Villa, we expected an easy ride, fans expected it most of all, but they gave it their all at our place and we nearly got punished badly for it. You can’t tell me that Emery didn’t chew those players heads off at half time, I can imagine what it was like in there. Getting fresh legs onto the field is what helped make the difference mostly because ten men and some who played midweek shows, look at the other teams who played midweek games. If I’m not mistaken Emery has a better record at bouncing back from midweek games over some other managers going by last season and now yesterday.

      1. Jo-Gunz,

        I don’t know, but before we went down to ten men, could you not see that we were devoid of any subtlety and forward thinking in our football?
        Jack Grealish had more creativity and talent in his football than ANYONE else on the pitch, yet UE decided to rest him again.

        Thanks Gunner Jack.

  7. Admin, did you watch the game or you followed it on the net? If you watched it, does your mind tell you that Guendouzi was running around like a headless chicken? You should be ashamed of such a heartless comment! How can you be a discouraging influence on our best player of the game? To put it mildly, I will say I am greatly unhappy with you.

    1. What’s wrong in identifying Guendozi’s horror show in the first half? Admin called it right by mentioning the period where he was a headless chicken.

  8. My fav moments were watching Guendouzi get so emotional, he looked like he might start crying then he looked like he wanted to kick someone other times he looked like pulling his own hair out, it was great seeing so much care from the lad. Auba’s celebration was also great I was in tears laughing it was too funny.

  9. My only positive is everyone realizing Xhaka was a problem in the midfield.

    There was a time when he had the ball and what was needed was a quick counter attack. Instead he played the ball back to the defenders.

  10. Emery and Xhaka are lovers, why dont they just admit it ?……………..I dont care how much WD40 they use, infact the more homosexuals in the world the better in my opinion as it leaves more women for me.
    Emery will get the sack for playing Xhaka at some point but is blinded by his love for something hard……….Granit.

    1. With that level of homophobia and a name like coq monster i think someone may be trying to hide something of their own…

  11. From their lining out from the dressing room I knew something was wrong

    They all looked uninterested, they looked sullen
    And it really is provoking that our boys do really think they can stroll into 3 points

    It was a puke-nauseating 1st 35 Mins,it was like Men VS Girls, with our Boys being the Girls
    Was too annoying

    Watch the first goal again,
    As a CDM, Guendouzi was the person who was to follow-up the runner into our box
    Our defenders are marking their attackers but their midfielders will run at our defense – it’s the duty of our DM & CM to follow-up those runs

    Annoyingly Xhaka & Guendouzi know nothing about that
    Guendouzi starts as a CM – he’s a headless chicken in that role, but when relieved of defensive duties – he excels

    Yet Unai will not notice that

  12. What’s the reason every silly team can get 25+ shots at us ???

    It’s not the defenders
    The defenders are in the box 18
    Opponents shoot from the edge and around the box 18

    It’s a non existent defensive midfield
    As it is – with Xhaka and Guendouzi in DM & CM, we can say we put out an empty central/defensive midfield

    All opponents can shoot at will, CB’s and defense are exposed – so it’s not about Holding returning

    Holding played well last season as Torreira was there to help & block the CB/Defenders

    If we continue this Xhaka-Guen Central Midfield, Holding will also suffer big-time

    It’s similar to the saying that “a keeper is as good as his defense”
    No keeper is a good keeper with a shitty defense

    No defense is good with a nonexistent DM & CM
    Someone put it well here: our Central/Defensive Midfield plays as if they are separate from the defense

    There is a big hollow there, only Torreira makes it a bit acceptable

    1. Nicely put Babasola. We bought Torreira for precisely that reason – to protect our defence. Xhaka will stroll aimlessly round the midfield while Guendouzi just naturally wants to push on further up the pitch whenever he gets the chance so obviously they cannot be played together otherwise our defence is knackered. As usual.

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