Aston Villa 1 Arsenal 0

Trezeguet 27

After the successes against arguably the two best teams in Europe, runaway champions Liverpool and former Champions Manchester City in their FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, Arsenal succumbed to shock 1-0 loss against Aston Villa. Fighting for their Premier League lives, Villa were solid and resilient against a superior side as far as the possession was concerned. However, the only statistic of note was the stunning volleyed strike from Trezeguet in the first half.

 

The Gunners failed to deal with a corner as Tyronne Mings made his presence felt, and as the ball fell into the path of Villa’s Egypt striker, he volleyed it first time past the unsighted Emiliano Martinez. Cedric Soares might feel that he could have stayed bigger for longer as the ball flew pat his turned back. Jack Grealish drove the home side on, with a late chance falling to Keenan Davis which he squandered from a Grealish pass.

 

Arsenal looked a bit off pace and that could have been expected in light of their recent schedule. Eddie Nketiah returned from a three game ban and his header onto the post from a corner was the closest the Gunners were able to get to levelling. Had that gone in, there would have been every expectation to have won the game, but Villa held on for their first win in 22 years and set themselves up for a real chance of preserving their top flight status.

 

Mikel Arteta was sanguine about a result which his side will have to learn from.

 

“This is football and every game is completely different. First of all, I’ll congratulate Villa on their performance and the win under such pressure of fighting relegation and for us it’s been a very emotionally and physically demanding week. We tried everything. I think you cannot fault the effort of the players, but after the goal we needed to find ways to attack them better in the final third and we lacked that creativity and that final cross and spark,” he said.

 

Arteta inherited a side low on spirit and confidence when he took over from Unai Emery last December. Arsenal have therefore seen a season spilt into three distinct parts. With Emery, then the initial stabilisation under Arteta, followed by the post covid-19 enforced lockdown. Naturally results have been affected, but Arteta knows what his side will need to do to avoid such games like this one, the defeat at Brighton, Manchester City and Spurs.

 

“Training, time and understanding the spaces. Where they are, how we can provoke them, where we need the bodies and the areas that we have to attack. And then a little bit in the first half I felt that we didn’t have the urgency with the ball. In the second half it was much better, we controlled the transitions much better as well, but it wasn’t enough,” offered Arteta.

Arsenal conclude their Premier League season with the arrival of struggling Watford on Sunday.