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Player Match Ratings: Outgunned!


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Two goals within a first half minute all but ended this game as a contest last night. But a welcome first goal for Benteke since September did offer us some hope of a late equalizer before the visitors extended their undefeated run at Villa Park to sixteen games  



Arsenal ran out comfortable winners last night and we are left still waiting for a first home victory against them since 1998 when a goal from Joachim and two from Dion Dublin sealed a memorable second half comeback win for us from 2 goals down. We found ourselves two goals down again at half time last night against the league leaders but a comeback never really looked quite on this time. The final score flattered us a little at the end but it thankfully did not strike the painful blow to our goal difference that had looked likely at the interval.  


Following their two goals within a minute Arsenal took their foot off the pedal and looked to coast to what was a predictable victory. They had the lion’s share of the possession as has become the norm for our opponents. But they did not go on to further expose the gulf in quality between the two teams and in the second half we did show some more fight and a level of threat up front that had been missing from the first half to the extent that it was their fans that were whistling for the game to end near the close.


We were content to surrender the initiative in the first half and that negative approach is always quickly undone by a goal and more so by two as was the case yesterday. But we had Arsenal feeling a tad nervous at the end and upped our game noticeably in the second half. We pressed Arsenal increasingly and might have nicked a point in the last 15 minutes when we actually moved forward with some conviction and can look to take some confidence from how we finished the game against the league leaders and from our aggregate 4-3 win.                 



My player ratings from a game that has left us still in eleventh place in the table which is a position it would be nice to be still be occupying following our coming two visits to the city of Liverpool which come either side of our forthcoming floodlit local derby are:


Brad Guzan – 6 – Got down to a Cazorla shot on 61 minutes and saved at his near post from the same player during stoppage time.                                                 


Matt Lowton – 6 – Produced some quality crosses as he often did last season but he also allowed Monreal to get behind him in the build up to their 34th minute opener and was less competent at the back than when moving forward.         


Ciaran Clark – 6 – A solid display.                   


Ron Vlaar – 7 – Another welcome return to our starting line up for our captain who was at his concrete best.


Nathan Baker – Came off with mild concussion having been struck on the head when trying to charge down a 14th minute shot. Not on long enough to get a rating and his change led to an early change in our formation.          


Antonio Lunar - 5 –This was a step up on what he has been producing of late and he covered well following Vlaar’s one mistake on the touchline near the end. His positional play is clearly something to be worked on but he moved forward well enough.                                


Fabian Delph - 6 – Fed on the edge of the box by Benteke who had claimed a loose ball on the edge of the box on 13 minutes but he screwed his shot wide of the post. Hit a low shot from some distance on 82 minutes that Szczesny gathered at the foot of his post. Lost possession to Wilshere in the middle in the build up to their decisive second goal.                                 


Ashley Westwood – 5 – Hit a decent effort from the edge of the box after El Ahmadi had pulled the ball back to him on 65 minutes which Szczesny dealt with without undue concern.  


El Ahmadi – 4 – Tried to side foot a cross from Delph in on 22 minutes but the ball lacked the pace to worry Szczesny had it been on target rather than put over the bar. His early booking made him think twice before going in for the ball and reduced any effectiveness he might otherwise have offered us. Replaced on 73 minutes which coincided with our most positive period of the game.   


Gabriel Agbonlahor – 6 – Did his bit and his pace is always a threat but did not get on the end of the headers won by Benteke as often as might have been hoped.     


Christian Benteke – 7 – MOTM – This long awaited goal will do much for his confidence and could do much to help us to safety. This was a big step-up on his performances since his return from injury. Christian won plenty of headers during the course of the game and looked something approaching the beast that had terrorised defenders last season and at the beginning of this one. Took the ball well on his chest on the edge of the box on 74 minutes before hitting his shot wide of the post. He dived full length at the far post to head in a sweet cross from Lowton which had just avoided Gabby’s outstretched foot before getting to him for his 76th minute goal. He might just have completed our comeback on 90 minutes but his header from another inviting Lowton cross was held by the keeper.                  




Leandro Bacuna – 7 –Replaced Baker on 21 minutes. Looked better than of late last night and kept busy. Hit an on target shot from the edge of the box on 49 minutes that was easily gathered by Szczesny. Made a big difference in our midfield and has to start the next game there.       


Andreas Weimann – 6 – Replaced El Ahmadi on 73 minutes and his pace made a difference as did his willingness to chase lost causes which almost led to an equalizer on 83 minutes when he hooked the ball back to be crossed dangerously towards the far post where Benteke was waiting to nod in his second of the night had Mertesacker not touched it out for a corner in front of him.


Stay up the Villa!

John Lewis

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Cardiff City-358097+35809
Crystal Palace-377523+37752
Hull City-
Manchester City33217133406310+846
Manchester United405383426821+2144
Newcastle United3033417375544+7220
Norwich City3318414
Queens Park Rangers385944
Stoke City3011018
Swansea City3400511370285+3023
Tottenham Hotspur368637353918-1472
West Bromwich Albion3448910
West Ham United3050316
Wigan Athletic3337412
Cardiff City2-03
Crystal Palace0-10
Hull City0-01
Manchester City3-230-100-5030+3
Manchester United0-302-300-30000
Newcastle United1-201-201-11000
Norwich City1-111-032-13330
Stoke City0-011-203-1303-3
Swansea City1-112-032-2113-2
Tottenham Hotspur0-200-400-20000
West Bromwich Albion1-112-212-21110
West Ham United2-130-010-1010+1
Cardiff City2-030-302-2130+3
Hull City1-030-012-1313-2
Crystal Palace0-103-231-1103-3
Scored first5Conceded first13
When we score 1stTotHAWhen we concede 1stTotHA
Nil all draws312Points gained from losing pos7 pts from 13 games
Points lost from winning pos2 pts from 7 games
Ave scoring min57Ave conceding min42
Scored first half6Conceded first half15
Scored 1-153Conceded 1-155
Scored 16-302Conceded 16-305
Scored 31-451Conceded 31-455
Scored second half14Conceded second half12
Scored 46-601Conceded 46-604
Scored 61-757Conceded 61-756
Scored 76-906Conceded 76-902
Possession Stats
Average match possession42.11%
Out-possess opponent4
Out-possessed by opponent17
When we out-possess opponent
Pts accrued (PPG)2 (0.5)
Goals scored (GPG)1 (0.3)
Goals conceded (GPG)3 (0.8)
When out-possessed by opponent
Pts accrued (PPG)21 (1.2)
Goals scored (GPG)19 (1.1)
Goals conceded (GPG)24 (1.4)
Own Goals
1Christian Benteke5
2Libor Kozák4
3Gabriel Agbonlahor3
4Leandro Bacuna2
4Karim El Ahmadi2
6Fabian Delph1
6Ashley Westwood1
6Andreas Weimann1
6Antonio Luna1
1Michael Jones22-0-06
1Jonathan Moss11-0-03
1Martin Atkinson11-0-03
1Chris Foy11-0-03
5Anthony Taylor21-0-13
6Roger East10-1-01
6Michael Oliver10-1-01
8Neil Swarbrick20-1-11
8Howard Webb20-1-11
8Mark Clattenburg20-1-11
11Craig Pawson10-0-10
11Lee Mason10-0-10
11Phil Dowd10-0-10
11Mike Dean20-0-20
11Kevin Friend10-0-10
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Great article John. My main worry before the game was that I knew it was going to be a really big ask for our young side to concentrate fully & keep a clean sheet & more importantly not to gift Arsenal their goals but to make them work for them. Sadly it was not to be & we paid the ultimate price. Up until Baker's injury our 5 3 2 formation was looking solid but the forced reversion to 4 4 2 threw a spanner in the works & Arsenal to their credit fully exploited this. I thought Lambert was extremely brave ( his greatest quality) playing two up top as I personally would have played 4 5 1. The first goal was always going to be crucial & we really needed to score it to give us something to cling on to but once Arsenal got it, quickly followed by the 2nd, due to Delph's appalling mistake, the majority of us realised it was game over.


Fortunately for us, as Johns says, Arsenal dropped off & this lack of ruthlessness on their part may ultimately cost them in the greater scheme of things. Only losing one goal in the goal difference column is a major plus for us & Benteke  rediscovering his Mojo is a real positive.


Finally, few could argue against Vlaar being our man of the match & his organisational skills & determination were outstanding. I just hope his calf stands up to the demanding task of trying to keep Luis Suarez  et al quiet at Anfield next game up.

Edited by villa-revolution
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Thanks for providing those stats again BOF. So we need 5 points from our next three games to stay level with the points we got from the fixtures from last season. That look a very big ask. 


Thanks for your comments and observations villa-revolution & Adam. I agree that Ron & Leo both had very good games alongside Christian whose goal and big improvement just shaded it for me for the MOTM award. 

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