Last weekend there were 12 goals in the games including these two sides, but this evening at Villa Park, Aston Villa and Arsenal battled out to a goalless draw as the rain poured down on a dismal Midlands evening.
Before the game Arsene Wenger made some key decisions by leaving club captain, Thomas Vermaelen and newly-fit, Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna, on the bench as Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey and Carl Jenkinson came into the starting line-up.
As for Aston Villa, their manager, Paul Lambert had to watch his side from the stands as he was serving a touchline ban for his comments made about referees after his side’s 5-0 loss to Manchester City,
In a very dire and drab first half, chances were few and far between with both sides struggling to get into their rhythm. The weather was clearly making a massive impact on the team’s passing and both teams were feeling the effects of playing on a soaked pitch.
The home side did have the ball in the back of the net after just 10 minutes, but it was correctly ruled out for offside. After a free-kick was fired in and squirmed it’s way into the six-yard box, Andreas Weimann, smashed the ball past Szczesny, but his celebrations were cut short when he saw the flag raised.
Coming up to half-time, Arsenal defender, Laurent Koscielny had a big chance to put the Gunners ahead, but his shot went miles over. After a low-ball from Kieran Gibbs, it was Koscielny who was left unmarked in the penalty area, but he couldn’t connect properly as he saw his shot fly into the stand.
As for the second half, neither team really picked it up, but as things got a bit more tense, more gaps were opening up and more space was being found on the pitch.
Having said that, the only chances came from long-range shots and it was Aaron Ramsey who saw two strikes roll just past Brad Guzan’s posts. As for up the other end, second half substitute, Brett Holman, saw his thumping long-range effort crash onto the bar after a fantastic fingertip save from Arsenal keeper, Szczesny.
That was all the second half had to offer in a very poor game overall at Villa Park and both teams can’t complain with the result and neither side did enough to win the full three points.
Aston Villa manager, Paul Lambert, praised his side after a tough run of games.
“It’s a long project. It’s never going to happen overnight. I thought today we were well worth something. They are a young side but they are growing every time they play.
“It’s a really tough run we have had with Manchester United, Manchester City City and Arsenal.
“People might have thought we would get nothing. We have got a point but the performances have been excellent.”
Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger, said his side lacked the cutting edge up front but said he has no complaints.
“Complaints? No, because we tried. We had the right attitude but lacked a bit of fluency and accuracy in the final third. When we had the opportunities to be dangerous but didn’t use them well.
“I think it’s down to fatigue. We had not completely recovered from Wednesday night. They [Thomas Vermaelen, Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna] were all on the edge.
“For Jack, it was a sensible thing. If you play him every game people reproach you and if you don’t play him they reproach you. It’s a lose-lose situation. I do what I think is right I and think it was the right decision.
“We’re a very offensive team – we played with three strikers – but that doesn’t mean you score goals. It can happen, it has happened before, it’s difficult away from home.”
In mid-week Aston Villa have a bottom-of-the-table clash with Reading at home and as for Arsenal, they have a big game away at Goodison Park to play Everton who are just one point above them.
Alex William Batt