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Aston Villa v Arsenal: the good, the bad, and the ugly

The team review the Aston Villa match through the medium of good, bad and ugly.

Laurence Griffiths

My first reaction yesterday, after I had lost the urge to simultaneously vomit and have a heart attack during the second half, was that yesterday's match was the type of match I used to get furious at Manchester United for winning. Arsenal didn't play that well, were slack and against a better side they might've drawn or lost. On the other hand, they still won. Winning is good. Winning is nice. Winning sends you top of the league. 3 years ago, Arsenal might've played wonderfully well and lost 2-1, because they had a Seb Squillaci and Mikael Silvestre in defence. Now they have Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny. It's a wonderful difference.

The Good

  • That pass from Ozil. Apparently, the German has been disappointing for Arsenal. And while yes, 5 goals and 9 assists isn't a HOLY CRAP HOW GOOD IS THAT return, it's also his first season in a far more challenging league. And, even when his final ball isn't the best, Ozil still contributes. The pass for Nacho Monreal's assist was exquisite, and created the first goal. As Dennis Bergkamp has said, often the pass before the assist is the most important.
  • Jack Wilshere's first half. A lovely ball for Olivier Giroud, and a well-timed run to meet Monreal's cutback. He's adding goals to his game, though, Kyle Martino, he is not one of the best at scoring from deep midfield. Have you mistook him for Aaron Ramsey?
  • Scoring two goals in a minute: I like the suckerpunch.
  • Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny: immense, again, at the back. Is there a better defensive partnership right now in the Premier League? After Villa pulled a goal back, Per and Kos took command. Arsenal's run of not losing when those two complete a full match together goes on.
  • Welcome back, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain!
  • Olivier Giroud's goal: I cannot remember a goal of his that involved taking the ball so well, or finishing across the keeper. A tremendous goal, showing what a couple of weeks off can do for him.

The Bad

  • The sloppiness in possession was a feature of almost the entire match, with Arsenal becoming incredibly loose with the ball after going two-up. The sloppiness prevented Arsenal from going on to score three, four or give goals, and let Aston Villa back into the match.
  • The midfield disappearing in the second half was a major part of that sloppiness. All of Jack Wilshere, Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla can feel somewhat culpable.
  • Jack Wilshere's defensive game: all though he likes a tackle, he can be beaten far too easily. That's a major difference between him and Aaron Ramsey. Wilshere made no tackles or interceptions yesterday; Ramsey leads the team in tackles.

The Ugly

  • Santi Cazorla's giveaway that led to Villa's goal. After doing the hard part of winning the ball back, he passed straight to Matthew Lowton. Come on, mate.