Here are my thoughts on Arsenal’s season opener against Aston Villa.
In today’s match, Arsenal came up against a group of cheating Villains. 😉 The team started off strong and played well throughout the game, only to be thwarted by the refs.
Within the first six minutes of the game, Arsenal were one nil up. Ox overlapped Rosicky down the left side line and the Czech played the ball down the line. Ox ran along the touch line, cut inside near the side edge of the box, and spotted Giroud. Giroud saw this, made a near post run, and put the ball across goal with his preferred left foot. It was a fantastic overlap by Ox and a fantastic near post run from Giroud, followed by a smart finish.
After this opening goal, Arsenal looked calm and collected. Agbonlahor made a normal run through the middle, got a lucky touch through Koscielny’s legs and found himself through on goal. Szczesny made the right decision to come off his line and go for the ball. He came out, and Agbonlahor touched it past him and dove like an Olympic swimmer over the Pole.
Let’s rewind a bit: even at this relatively early stage of the game the ref had been calling everything Villa’s way. Maybe to the ref it appeared that Szcz took down the Villain, but replays show the dive and exaggeration. This is why FIFA needs to allow reviewing technology, especially for red cards and PKs.
That aside, the ref incorrectly called the penalty. Szcz saved Benteke’s original kick brilliantly and was unlucky when the latter got the rebound and headed it in. An unfair 1-1.
Gibbs would then get unlucky. He and Weimann went up for a header, and Gibbs came out bleeding. The ref, once again incorrect, ignored a head injury when he should’ve stopped the game. Kieran will likely need stitches, but let’s hope he doesn’t have a concussion and can rejoin the team soon. After this injury, we were down to only 4 first team defenders and 0 left backs. This is another example of how thin the squad is, but I will touch on that later. Immediately, Jenkinson came in at right back and Sagna switched to left back.
After this, the refereeing only got worse. Call after call went against us. I was proud to see our players stand up for themselves, especially Jack and Aaron.
Eventually, Gabby would break into our box again. Kos made a smart tackle and hit the ball out of play, clearly getting the ball before the player. However, Gabby once again showed his true Villainous colors and dove like a scuba diver, and the penalty was called out of nothing. I can’t give the ref a break on this one. There was a ref behind the goal, on the sideline and on the field, and none could figure out that it was a good tackle. Even on live TV from a zoomed out camera angle I could tell it was a good tackle, so I don’t understand how none of the referees saw it. Benteke stepped up again and calmly tapped it home, after Kos received a yellow card.
Arsenal had many chances of their own. Rosicky went through twice and was unlucky on both occasions. Theo fought for a ball in the box and managed to hoof the ball across the open net, but it was deflected. Chances came and went, but one thing struck me as odd. The ref only seemed to call fouls for us when we had advantage, almost as if to stop us from building an attack. The game got very dirty, but once again the ref seemed to think Arsenal was at fault. Jack got a yellow for a challenge that wouldn’t have been called if Villa made it, but when Jack was constantly fouled there was nothing called.
In the end, the diving Villain got a run at our defense again. Kos dove forward to slow down the play and completely missed the ball and player. The ball rolled to Benteke, but Mertesacker and Jack had it covered. Strangely though, the play was called back and Kos was shown a second yellow despite clearly not getting any player! The call was incorrect and we can only hope that the card is reviewed and rescinded, otherwise we could be down to 3 first team defenders for our next premier league game. We are in desperate need of another RB, CB and maybe even another very young LB, if neither the CB nor RB is capable of playing LB. Down 2-1, and down to 10 men, all incorrectly. It looked bad, and in the end it was bad.
Arsenal continued to play well, and Aaron slotting in at CB. At this point I would’ve liked to see Podolski come on for Giroud, even if it was just to crush some Villain skulls. Sadly, he wouldn’t come on until it was far too late.
In the end, Arsenal would commit everyone to an offensive corner. Villa broke on our 3 defenders and scored a 1 on 1 goal. I don’t blame anyone of Arsenal at all: we had nothing to lose. If two wrong penalties hadn’t been called and Kos hadn’t been sent off, we wouldn’t have been in that situation.
At the very end, Sagna went up and over a Villa player and landed hard on his neck. It looked bad.
After the final whistle chants of “spend some f***ing money” and “you don’t know what you’re doing” went up in the stadium.
Overall, the team played fantastically and at the least deserved a 1-1 draw. They also played with a great spirit. And I think one of Wenger’s issues is that he doesn’t want to ruin this spirit. But most World Class players will have that spirit and if worse comes to the worst, buy relatively young (25 and under) and put that spirit in them over the years. We need reinforcements. The team we have now is great, but the squad is too thin. Let’s hope Wenger buys at least a DM, CB, and RB in the coming days before our next game. It looks bad now, but the season isn’t over yet.
For now I’ll leave you with some questions:
1. What did you think of the game?
2. How many players do we need before our next game?
3. Will Wenger sign players during this window?
4. Should Wenger get a contract extension if our only signing this window is Yaya Sanogo?
Thanks for reading.
Written by: Dylan.
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