I would be lying if I believed we still had a chance of Premier League survival before yesterdays win over Arsenal. Even after Watford were beaten by Manchester City, I still didn’t believe a win was possible against an in-form Arsenal side.
The late goal against Everton knocked me sideways, to the extent I didn’t even visit my own website for a few days later. Luckily it didn’t effect the players the same way it effected me.
Dean Smith stuck kept faith in the same side that started against Everton as they hoped to upset an Arsenal side who had beaten both Liverpool and Manchester City over the past week.
As you would expect, Arsenal dominated the possession early on despite not really looking a threat on Pepe Reina’s goal but it was the home side who would take the lead.
Just before the half hour mark, John McGinn’s twisting and turning earned Villa a corner. Conor Hourihane found Tyrone Mings from the resulting set piece before heading towards Trezeguet, who was able to smack a first time finish inside the post.
Arsenal looked to respond quickly and could have found one but Dani Ceballos could only fire horribly over the ball from the edge of the Villa box.
Villa began to grow into the game as Trezeguet came close again, this time with his head, but it lacked any real power and was unable to trouble Emiliano Martinez in the Arsenal goal.
A few minutes later, Martinez was on his toes as Jack Grealish fired a powerful shot just wide of the far post. Were Villa going to regret not taking these chances?
Arteta introduced Granit Xhaka, at half time as he looked to change things on the field. The Switzerland was involved in a move very early on in the second half but it ended horribly wrong as it was the turn of Bukayo Sako to fire over the far post.
Villa looked more likely to score than Arsenal and Freddie Guilbert, who replaced the injured Ahmed Elmohamady at the first water-break, could only watch on as his shot flicked off a defenders leg before going wide, leaving Martinez completely wrong-footed.
As the clocked ticked down and Villa fans sat on the edge of their sofas, with no nails left the referee blew the full time whistle as Reina caught the ball from another wasted chance by Arsenal.
In our own hands
If you had asked any player or supporter associated with Aston Villa at the start of July if they would take the position they currently find themselves in, they would have snapped your hands off.
We go to West Ham the weekend knowing that if we beat the Hammers and better the result of Watford at Arsenal then they will be playing Premier League football next season. Sounds simple right? If, only.