Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Arsenal v Aston Villa - belated match review

I felt Arsenal were unlucky not to score more than the one goal yesterday. Villa were poor. If not for the post (again!), a few bizarre refereeing decisions (again!) and a bit of bad luck with the run of the ball, we could have got six or seven.

One goal would have been enough but for some appalling defending by Squillaci  in the first twenty minutes, twice allowing Bent to go through unchallenged with only the keeper to beat. He hasn't featured in the first eleven much recently and must have realised that this was his chance to impress, so the fact that he completely failed to turn up is all the more difficult to understand.

Fortunately, Arsene Wenger must have agreed with me because he substituted the French centreback at half-time, bringing on Chamakh, changing to 4-4-2 and dropping Song back into the defence. Although it is not his regular position, Song was great in the second-half and we looked much more balanced as a team.

Unfortunately, the damage had already been done and we were not able to claw back three (or even two) goals. As I said, I thought we were unlucky not to score more. Were were knocking on the door all afternoon. Van Persie added to his goalpost hitting tally (does he aim for the post?), the foul on Ramsey in the box was as clear a penalty as you will see (great pass from Wilshere BTW!), the Chamakh disallowed goal was harsh in the extreme, and the foul given against van Persie when he cleverly turned Dunn on the edge of the box had be scratching my head (strangely, MoTD didn't even show that one).

And Villa were lucky on several occasions not to have a man sent off. What do opposition players have to do to warrant a red card at Ashburton Grove? You can bet that if some of those tackles had happened at Old Trafford they would have resulted in cards (unless they were by ManUre players, of course!)

Hopefully, AW will now have realised that Squillaci is simply not up to the job (am I being too optimistic?) and it is the last we will see of him in an Arsenal shirt. I really think that we need to bring in another centreback in the closed season. Koscielny and Djourou are decent players but we need two solid experienced professionals in this position (a la Ferdinand and Vidic) and these two just don't fit the bill. Song's performance at centreback yesterday compared to those of LK and JD last week against Stoke Rugby Club only served to highlight how true this is, though they will be okay as backups in my opinion.

We have been strongly linked with Gary Cahill today and from what I've seen, he could be just what we need, though I must emphasise that I don't agree with this 'we must buy English' nonsense.

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