Arsenal started very brightly. We were very mobile and fluid with Wilshere, Ramsey, and Rosicky bossing the game in the midfield. Wilshere then unleashed the OX on the left wing in the 5th minute. He made a great run before flicking a great pass into the box with the outside of his foot. Giroud hit it first time for 1-0 to the Arsenal.
The next 15 minutes was without event as both teams struggled for possession. The tackles were coming in hard and then against the run of play, in the 20th minute, Agbolanhor sped off like a drugged man, to the shock of the Arsenal defense who stood still in awe of his audacity, i suppose.
Szczesny came off his line but the quick winger sped past him, committed the pole into committing a foul, and the ref awarded a penalty. Luckily, it was only a yellow card for the pole. Benteke took the pk and szczesny saved, but the belgian nodded the rebound and the ball ended up in the back of the net.
Moments later, Gibbs smashed his head in an aerial challenge and had to come off. He was replaced by Carl Jenkinson, who moved to right back and Sagna took the left back position.
The rest of the half was a gladiator tournament as bloody tackle, after tackle came in from both teams especially from Aston Villa. The referee was doing a poor job of controlling proceedings.
Gibbs went off with a head contusion, walcott, ox, sagna, and ramsey all limped at one point but shrugged it off and continued. At this point, i shuddered to think what would happen, if we were to accumulate more injuries with our already STRETCHED SQUAD on the FIRST GAME OF THE SEASON.
For the record, I don’t think STRETCHED SQUAD and FIRST GAME OF THE SEASON should be used in the same sentence, but there you go.
The second half saw Cazorla come in for Chamberlain, who is probably injured as I write.
It was pretty much the same as how the first half ended. Bad tackles, and bad refereeing.
Walcott then set up a chance for Giroud in the 51st minute but the French man couldn’t wrap his foot around it to get off a decent shot.
Delph then broke through in midfield 60 seconds later, and hit a screamer that completely beat Szczesny, but it luckily hit the post.
Minutes later, Cazorla lost the ball in midfield, and Agbonlahor drove again into the penalty box. Koscielny stretched a leg, made contact with the ball, but the AstonVilla player came tumbling down and the ref awarded a second penalty and booked Koscielny.
Benteke converted for 1-2.
Koscielny was sent off in the 67th minute for a second bookable offense and we were down to ten men.
As we struggled in the latter stages to find the equalizer, AstonVilla caught us on the counter attack, and Luna, their left back was free enough to calmly slot the third past Szczesny, in what was for me the fitting end to a fitting display from AstonVilla.
I know what Wenger will say so I don’t care about his press conference. He will say:
The team gave their all today. We were a bit tired in the second half, and the decisions did not go our way. But I would say that we played against a very determined AstonVilla side who had something to prove. I think we are lacking maybe a bit of sharpness, but we showed great mental strength to push for the equalizer even with a man down.
Please make sure to cross check this against what he will really say. You’ll see their isn’t much difference.
Only a schizophrenic does the same thing over and over and expects a different result, and even as the fans chanted at the end of the game ” spend some f***ing money”, it is wiser to expect that Wenger will remain stubborn.
On the whole, we came out of this game with 1 red card, a couple of yellows, about 4 injuries, and no points.
Ooh, to be a gooner!!!