Aston Villa were hoping to get their first win against a top-six side this season when Arsenal visited Villa Park in the Premier League.
Steven Gerrard was forced to replace the injured Lucas Digne with Ashley Young at left-back. Ezri Konsa and Emi Buendia also returned to the starting line-up as Calum Chambers and Emi Buendia both dropped to the bench.
Villa struggled in the first half and the returning Konsa had to thank keeper Emi Martinez when he got down low to prevent a certain own-goal when the centre-half could only deflect Bukayo Saka’s cross from the left.
Emile Smith Rowe sent a decent chance just over the bar and then Thomas Partey could only shoot straight at Martinez.
The only real surprise of the first half was that it took 30 minutes for the visitors to score as Villa failed to turn up. Young was penalised for bringing down Saka on the wing and when Villa failed to clear the resulting free-kick, the England international thumped home a low shot from just outside the box.
Villa’s frustrations continued just moments later when captain Tyrone Mings was booked for a perfect tackle on Saka.
Villa looked the better of the two teams in the second half without really looking like they would get themselves back in the game.
Young almost found Ollie Watkin’s head, John McGinn curled an effort just wide from the edge of the Arsenal box.
Watkins soon had another chance when Martinez’s goal kick sailed over the visitor’s defence and the striker shot deflected off Ben White onto the post.
Gerrard acknowledged his side were second best as they failed to turn up as our inconsistent season continues.
- There went many I must admit in what was in truth, quite a dull game without any real quality. You could give Arsenal credit for seeing the game through maybe and it’s something we need to learn from.
- Inconsistency is proving a major issue for Villa this season. One or two solid performances are usually followed by a couple of poor results. If we are to push on, then we must add consistency to our performances.
- The referee booked Mings for what looked like a clear tackle. Some will argue the follow through gave the official no choice but give the ball was long gone by the time both Mings and Saka made contact, which makes you think about the modern game.