This is negative – Arsenal / Villa preview

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Here we go again. I’ve been writing this LeGrove Villa preview for a few seasons now, and every year I wax lyrical about how utterly dismal we are, pick out one or two depressing/barely believable stats demonstrating our ineptitude, offer a brief, yet easily dismissed ray of hope for what would be an almighty upset, then sit back and watch us get royally spanked. Again.

The most recent of these batterings was in the FA Cup Final earlier this year, when even Arsenal’s traditional confidence wobble when faced with an elusive trophy, was nothing when presented with one of the most depressingly abject and spineless Villa performances in recent memory. And there have been many.

Of course back then we were being led by the blustering incompetence of top, top diamond geezer and all-around imposter Timmy ‘fahcking’ Sherwood. Tim had somehow managed to convince everyone that he’s a football manager, when he’s actually more like a low-rent motivational speaker, the kind that plies their trade less on the corporate circuit, and more down your local estate pub after too many pints of Carling and a few lines.

Thankfully the bumbling Aston Villa board, (played with aplomb by a couple of former Arsenal stooges clearly taking the piss), finally saw sense and went out and got a ‘real manager’, the inexperienced, yet undeniably promising Remi Garde. The poor bastard.

Most of the media seem to be billing today’s game as some sort of ‘master versus apprentice’ matchup of the impressive young Garde going head-to-head against his former coach, the wiley old Professor Wenger. My problem with that is that it suggests that this Villa team is at least in some way a representative of Garde and his apparent dynamic continental managerial style. The reality is that so far, young Remi mostly stands powerless on the sidelines, dead-eyed and ashen-faced, wondering what the hell he’s let himself in for.

Garde has yet to lead the team to victory, and for every promising 0-0 against Man City, or 1-1 against Southampton (holy shit! We can defend?!), there’s a 4-0 loss to Everton and a 3-2 against Watford. So for any minor improvement Garde has made, it’s nothing I feel can withstand the current confidence and form of this Arsenal side.

You want stats? Here’s some stats: Villa have gone a club record 14 games without a win, including 8 winless at home. We have the worst defence in the league and have tied the joint worst start to any premier league by any team ever this far into the season. We’ve also conceded 12 goals in our last three games against Arsenal, without scoring.

As for team news, our plucky young homegrown talent Jack Grealish is set to come back into the side. He was ‘suspended’ for 2 games by Garde for going out on the town and acting the arse, an episode I’m not entirely convinced wasn’t in part due to all the smoke Sherwood had previously blown up it. Scott Sinclair is always capable of showing ‘something’, and although we clearly bought the wrong Ayew brother in the summer, Jordan has probably been one of our better players this season and does carry a threat. The problem is that no one else in the team really does, other than Rudy Gestede, but that’s only if you swing decent crosses right in onto his head, which we don’t.

I guess what’s most depressing for me is that in this most crazy of seasons, with Leicester top and Chelsea hovering about the relegation zone (LOL), when every weekend features an upset and how now more than ever it if feels like there are no real nailed-on results, there is still always one – Aston Villa will not win.

So enjoy the game tomorrow and I’ll see you again in May when if Villa aren’t already relegated, it truly will be the most crazy of seasons.

607 Responses to “This is negative – Arsenal / Villa preview”

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  1. useroz

    The worse is Wenger not doing a damn thing and unwilling to buy the right players (not necessarily expensive ones) in Jan despite the obvious opportunity presented to us to win the PL.

    If we didn’t win today, might as well pack it in.

  2. jasongms

    Last week I wanted villa to win , next week will be the same .. This week , I wouldn’t care if they were the lone survivor of the human race … They must be exterminated 🙂 Au Revoir

  3. Up 4 grabs now

    Morning all, nice to see Utd dying on there arse again last night.
    Are the glazers really going to let LVG spend another £150 million over the next 2 Windows!

    Today is the day to lay down a marker. Get the 3 points but really goto town on an appalling villa side.
    It would be a massive confidence booster before the city game which is looking very winnable.

    With either Leicester, Chelsea or both dropping points tomorrow night. We can start to build a bit of a lead going into the city game and Xmas.

    No complacency later, get the job done and maybe rotate and rest a few guy’s if the game is won early.

  4. Jamie

    Ozil would have to hand in a transfer request for a move to Madrid. Can’t see it happening. He was forced out when he didn’t want to leave, so he’s probably still a little bitter. Any way you cut it, Arsenal is a massive step backwards from R. Madrid, so it’s unlikely he would’ve been thrilled with the move.

    To me, Bayern or PSG seem more likely candidates if he were to agitate a move away.

  5. Sam

    If Arsenal fail to win the league this season I will definitely join the Wenger out brigade. Both Man city n united don’t impress me at all. Time to go top n stay there till Mai

  6. Up 4 grabs now

    I’m pretty sure Ozil is close to signing a new deal with us? Maybe Bayern might chase him, but I can’t see it unless he has some long lost Bayern DNA!
    Would probably put it with the peps going to man city story, and Alexis is his first signing rubbish!

  7. alexanderhenry

    Won’t be easy today. It’s an away game after an away CL fixture. Both man u and city were awful yesterday partly for that reason.

  8. Sam

    Bayern losing Guardiola is not such a bad thing. They’re better off with a proper coach not a mercenary
    This twat thinks he’ll have it easy here like in Spain n Germany. I hope he does worse than pelegrini n get the boot

  9. Marc

    Wouldn’t pay to much attention to the Ozil stories if only for the reason that I’m not sure Madrid would be able to cough up the fee we would put on him. With the new TV deal in the summer EPL clubs are going to be rolling in it, you’ll see a spike in both fees paid and wages.

    Madrid will be spending £30 million on De Gea with any other signings could they afford the £80 plus million we’d demand?

  10. Sam

    We don’t have mercenaries in the team anymore. Guardiola needs to fok off, Sanchez is not for sale. He can still buy ex Arsenal judas, Van Persie n Cesc might be available

  11. S Asoa

    News that Real are trying to poach Ozil.. The lad seems happy in London . But should not be allowed to get frustrated watching 4 out of 5 crosses go waste with a limited edition Giroud as ” striker” as he is called .
    It would be Wenger pussy. lamous ( Intended ) behavior and fault if he goes.
    Then we might as well fight for bottom top 4 Troffie

  12. Sam

    We are linked with Alexandr Kokorin, apparently he’s available for 4millions quids
    Le tightwad will never learn, Andrei Konchelski was the last Russian to make it in the EPL.
    When it comes to cheap signing he doesn’t think twice. Let the boy try his football elsewhere or small EPL team

  13. Arsene's Nurse


    33 Cech
    24 Bellerín
    04 Mertesacker
    06 Koscielny
    18 Monreal
    16 Ramsey
    20 Flamini
    14 Walcott
    11 Özil
    28 Campbell
    12 Giroud


    02 Debuchy
    03 Gibbs
    05 Gabriel
    13 Ospina
    15 Oxlade-Chamberlain
    21 Chambers
    45 Iwobi

    Source: BBC

    He’s determined to run Ozil into the ground. Villa are bottom so why not just change it a put Ozil on the bench?

  14. Dissenter

    “Anyone believes tht Real Madrid is after Ozil?”

    With Real Madrid, anything is possible.
    They are the biggest performing circus in the world.

  15. underrated Coq

    So basically the same exact line-up that played only a couple days ago. Against lowly Villa. I mean, if you don’t trust the likes of Gabriel and Oxo to do their jobs against these sides, what’s the point of them?

  16. Cesc Appeal

    Really not sure about Mert at CB with this midfield, seems much more open in the absence of Coq and if this game is open and flows, which I think it might, he may get exposed from the front and the side when Bellerin leaves him exposed.

    We will see I suppose. Not sure though.

  17. Brooklyn

    Walcott, Flamini, Ramsey and Campbell better be good in possession as we can’t allow this this to be end to end game.

  18. Jeff

    We just need to turn up. If we turn up we’ll win. If we go complacent and Aston Villa sneak in a goal, we’ll find ourselves in trouble.

  19. Bamford10

    Have I ever mentioned how little I like this yellow kit? Our kits get worse every year. Used to be the prettiest in the world.

  20. Rustygunner

    What is respect for the opposition? Restraining yourselves from tearing into a weak opposition and allowing them chances to pop at your own goalie?

  21. Bamford10

    Am I the only one who finds our play these days a bit dull, uninspiring, boring? Even when we win, it’s not much to watch. This is one of my least favorite Arsenal teams, I must say.

  22. Lamia

    We are 1 up but I can’t say we have been particularly impressive. I have seen this type of display all too often. Villa is their for the taking but this casual lethargic attitude comes from the manager.

  23. Rambo Ramsey

    “Am I the only one who finds our play these days a bit dull, uninspiring, boring?”

    Its how Arsenal tackle away games from the past year or so. result being we are a lot harder to beat and have one of the best away records

  24. DaleDaGooner

    This season, I’m all for boring wins as long as we can win the league. United and Chelsea play boring and win the league, only City has won playing entertaining all through

  25. DaleDaGooner

    Mesut and Ramsey bangs it in. He loves to get forward. He just has to better his midfield play. Great pass by Walcott in the middle. I expect that type from Ramsey and Walcott finishing from Ozil

  26. Rustygunner

    Arsenal play is calibrated to the level of Aston Villa. No respect to the opposition. Oh goal! Ok so they want to get Villa on counter.

  27. Jeff

    1 Arsenal 16 16 33
    2 Man City 16 15 32
    3 Leicester 15 11 32
    4 Man Utd 16 9 29
    5 Tottenham 15 13 26
    6 Crystal Palace 16 6 26
    7 Watford 16 2 25

    Looking good.

  28. karim

    You mean, being in control and scoring whenever we give 10 % more ?
    Today is about getting 3 points, that’s all.
    Expect some good football v City.

  29. Dusty Kart

    Ha-ha R.S.P.C.Arsenal not this time mate villa are awful if we çant hold out against this shower we should just give up.

  30. Bamford10


    I don’t miss the silly/soft goals we used to concede on counterattacks and set pieces, but I do miss the beautiful passing and individual quality. This side doesn’t do it for me.

  31. Cesc Appeal

    Good first half. Biggest worry is complacency now.

    Loved that counter goal, classic counter football, nice pass from Walcott, lovely sly pass from Ozil.

    Great finish from Walcott at the end there, shame it was offside.

  32. gunnergetyou

    “Its how Arsenal tackle away games from the past year or so. result being we are a lot harder to beat and have one of the best away records”

    Couldn’t agree more. Over the last 10 years we’ve definitely had more entertaining teams, but those teams were more ill disciplined and soft centered. particularly 2008 and 2011.

    That said, it does help to have your first decent GK in almost 10 years.

  33. Bamford10


    Yes, that was a penetrating long pass, but wasn’t it 3-4 yards from Ozil’s feet? Could’ve been a better pass in truth, IMO.

  34. Paulinho

    Am I the only one who finds our play these days a bit dull, uninspiring, boring?”

    We’ve been like that since 08/09 season. Wilshere’s little cameos during the 2010 and now is the only time we’ve been able to really control games and pull teams about when the pace is hectic.

    This team can only do it when the other team has given up the ghost. The likes of Bellerin become less jittery on the ball and relax a bit and start running in-field and creating mini-overloads.

  35. Bamford10

    I take it back. Not a perfect pass from Walcott, but better and more accurate than I was saying. Ozil had to adjust, but not because of the pass. Hat off to Theo.

  36. Ozy

    Bamford, you like wagers so here’s one:

    If we win the league, you can continue supporting Arsenal.

    If anybody else wins, you can go support whoever the fuck you want.

    Sounds good?

  37. Vince

    I know I may get flaks for this and all, but our game has dropped considerably since Sanchez’s left. watching the before and after of Sanchez the day he got injured made that obvious. it’s great we are ekking out results, but this team look lost, we are everywhere and nowhere. And Joel Campbell, despite having arguably his best spell for Arsenal, is obviously not Arsenal standard, of that I’m almost 100% sure. Flamini and Ramsey in front of the defense are inexistent too. I’m here just wishing Wenger doesn’t start Per ahead of Gabriel next week. Our team looks all over the place. You can start the pumelling now.

  38. Cesc Appeal

    Hopefully we come out for the second calm and composed, don’t allow Villa a sniff, a team like this, totally desperate, can’t give them anything.

  39. Sam

    you blind modafokazz can’t tell we had a difficult in midweek
    Man u lost n city was lucky
    This game is not boring, you are

    moan moan moan

  40. Jamie

    Bamford –

    Sure, the pass could’ve been even more precise, but there’s only one Ozil and as good as he is, Ozil can’t pass it to himself!

    Theo’s effort took out 3 Villa defenders. Can’t ask for much more. Ramsey showed great awareness to let it run through to Ozil, and of course Ozil was always going to find a way to avoid the shot and lay it up on a plate for someone else. I love those amazing lethal counters.

  41. Down under gunner

    We’re playing within ourselves and are two up! It’s shocking conditions in the wet and you can’t expect champagne football in the wet.
    Flamini is doing ok but is still a big concern when we play a decent team of getting exposed, obvious we need another cm/dm in January

  42. Cesc Appeal

    Have to say, with regards to the fight last night, Joshua wasn’t that impressive, obviously he’s hugely powerful and fast for heavyweight but in terms of boxing basics, no jab, no head movement…wasn’t that great.

    Whether that as down to him just wanting to completely KO the other guy with one banger, don’t know.

    Fantastic big shots though, and that uppercut to end it all was sweet.

  43. jwl

    London Times – Bespoke data gives Arsène Wenger a tactical edge at Arsenal

    For months, Aaron Ramsey has been trying to persuade Arsène Wenger to give him a chance in central midfield. That is where the Welshman believes he is most effective, where he feels most at home. Against Sunderland last week, the Arsenal manager finally granted his wish and, in doing so, offered a rare insight into how English football’s oldest dog has started to learn some new tricks.

    Wenger had not been persuaded by Ramsey’s protestations. Nor had his hand been entirely forced by Arsenal’s crippling injury crisis. It was not a decision reached by emotion or impulse, but one determined by cold, raw data. “If you look at his Expected Goals when [Ramsey] is in a central position, it is among the best in the Premier League,” Wenger said.

    Expected Goals is a term seeping into football’s lexicon. It is among the most sophisticated measures developed by a new generation of performance analysts. It quantifies, essentially, how many high-quality chances a player or team has produced in a given game.

  44. Arsene's Nurse

    @Karim – I noticed that a couple of years ago. It’s someone who has a season ticket and goes to loads of games. Sounds like a woman to me, but you can always hear them shouting, “Arsenal, Arsenal,Arsenal” or “Come on Arsenal!”

  45. Ben D

    I once commented on how some people will moan on here whatever Arsenal do and Pedro intervened, asking me to go elsewhere if I don’t like it… he doesn’t ask Bamford to go to a Man City bloq amazes me…..

    Nothing Arsenal dies will ever be good enough for some.

    What’s up with Bellerin though, boy is really playing poorly at the moment. Maybe time to give him a rest and give Debuchy a run?

  46. Bamford10

    False choice at work above: we don’t have to choose b/t beautiful football and results, because the former doesn’t mean irresponsible play that exposes you to counterattacks, nor does it mean being soft on set pieces. One can have both; plenty of other top clubs do, so can we.

    Bad argument.

  47. reality check

    We’re just a bunch of bullies really.

    Beat small teams and all of a sudden we’re on the up.

    Consider our spend and wages compared to villa.

    Why is it ok to to say we lost to chavs bayern ect. Over the years. Not because they played well but because they out spend us.

    But when we beat an almost relegated team its because we’re a good team?

    Did we spend 42.5M and 37M to beat sunderland olympiakos and aston villa.

    All compititions. Our whole season so far.

    Olympiacos 3 – 0
    Sunderland 3 – 1
    Norwich City 1 – 1
    Dinamo Zagreb 3 – 0
    West Bromwich Albion 1 – 2
    Tottenham Hotspur 1 – 1
    Bayern Munich 1 – 5
    Swansea City 3 – 0
    Sheffield Wednesday 0 – 3
    Everton 2 – 1
    Bayern Munich 2 – 0
    Watford 3 – 0
    Manchester United 3 – 0
    Olympiacos 2 – 3
    Leicester City 5 – 2
    Tottenham Hotspur 2 – 1
    Chelsea 0 – 2
    Dinamo Zagreb 1 – 2
    Stoke City 2 – 0
    Newcastle United 1 – 0
    Liverpool 0 – 0
    Crystal Palace 2 – 1
    West Ham United 0 – 2
    Chelsea 1 – 0 – Community Shied

    Is this correct?

  48. Ben D


    However much you wish for something negative to happen, it doesn’t look likely in this game. Let up. Go take your pills and take a nap. It will do you good….

  49. Bamford10


    “You won’t get champagne football when you have Flamini, Giroud, Ramsey, Walcott and Campbell in the side.”

    For once I agree with you.

  50. Dissenter

    Where are all the sofa fitness experts asking for Ozil to be rested.
    He’ll have one full week tiniest after this game.

  51. gonsterous

    Reality check

    Your scores make no sense.. how are supposed to know which are the goals of arsenal when you have put 1 next to bayern- 5 blank.. did we hammer bayern or take a hammering.. if you have an argument at least make sense…

  52. Arsene's Nurse

    Considering we don’t have Santi in the side as well then we aren’t going to be such as silky unit especially as Flamini and Ramsey are in the centre. But then we don’t need to be to beat villa. We just need to get the job done without further injuries and take 3 points.