Watkins scored the only goal from the close line.  Photo: EPA.

Arsenal lost to Aston Villa for the second time

Net in the second minute, Arsenal could not recover and lost 0-1 to Aston Villa in round 23 of the Premier League on 6/2 evening.

Goal: Watkins 2 ‘.

Watkins scored the only goal from the close line. Image: EPA.

Three months ago, the 0-3 defeat to Aston Villa ushered in Arsenal’s terrible Premier League streak in a month and a half. Mikel Arteta’s teachers and students drew two, losing five in seven consecutive matches. The “Gunners” sometimes fell near the red light area, and had to wait until Christmas to recover. However, the Aston Villa obsession still remains with the owner of the Emirates Stadium.

In the second match, Arsenal improved many parameters, from the time of possession, the number of shots, to the number of corners, but the final result was unchanged. The London team could not find the old net of Emiliano Martinez, even once.

Overall, Arsenal did not deserve to lose the second consecutive match. They have clear opportunities, especially on the left flank of Nicolas Pepe. With Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka in the middle of the field, Arteta has a perfect engine in the middle axis, able to defend from afar, launch attacks, and even intimidate the opponent’s goal directly.

Old Arsenal - goalkeeper Martinez - constantly discouraged the visitors' strikers.  Photo: AP.

Old Arsenal – goalkeeper Martinez – constantly discouraged the visitors’ strikers. Image: AP.

The problem with Arsenal, like many other defeats this season, comes from old people. In the previous round, David Luiz received a red card, causing the “Gunners” to be penalized and then equalized 1-1, before losing in reverse. This round, it was Cedric Soares’ turn. In the second minute, the left-back Arsenal returned to the young, robbed Bertrand Traore. The homeowner slopes the ball to the bottom of the border, before returning Ollie Watkins to easily cushion the ball near the wall.

Mat Ryan, Australia’s number one goalkeeper, made an impressive debut at Arsenal. He made a total of seven saves during the 90 minutes at Villa Park. But the first touch, after being loaned to the “Gunners”, was back to the net to pick up the ball.

Goalkeeper Ryan has many saves for Arsenal on the evening of February 6.  Photo: PA.

Goalkeeper Ryan has many saves for Arsenal on the evening of February 6. Image: PA.

Arsenal is not a good team upstream this season. In seven times of being led in the Premier League before being a guest of Aston Villa, the “Gunners” got back only one point. They lost six, although the opponent might be just Burnley. Even in the middle of the scoreboard, Aston Villa is a team that has the power and knows how to defend the results. Their four attacking players were a constant threat to the Arsenal quartet, while John McGinn and Marvelous Nakamba did not show a loss when compared to their strength with Partey or Xhaka.

The rare bright spot on Arsenal’s attacking front is Bukayo Saka. The 19-year-old midfielder ranked number one in the number of key-passes, also the second most touching the ball, behind only Xhaka. He actively took a step back, built up his playstyle, then suddenly rose to penetrate the void. But on the day Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was prepared, Alexandre Lacazette was isolated, and Saka’s efforts did not pay off.

Contrary to Arsenal’s secret posture, Aston Villa actively plays with the game. In addition to scoring, rookie striker Watkins kept the ball too well, before releasing the ball to satellites like Traore, Ross Barkley, and Jack Grealish. The home team should have won more boldly, when facing goalkeeper Ryan in the 34th and 50th minutes. However, three full points on the evening of February 6 were enough to help them overcome Tottenham to take eighth place.


Aston Villa: Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett; McGinn, Nakamba; Traore (Trezeguet 66 ‘), Barkley (Ramsey 78’, Grealish; Watkins.

Arsenal: Ryan; Bellerin, Gabriel, Holding, Soares (Odegaard 65 ‘); Partey (Willian 74 ‘), Xhaka; Pepe, Lacazette (Aubameyang 59 ‘) Saka.

* Fixture – English Premier League results

* Premier League scoreboard

Thang Nguyen


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