Date:Monday December 28 2009
Attendance: 60 056
It was another frustrating afternoon in the Capital for myself!
Me watching games in London doesn't bring much success I'm afraid. My record is only two victories I have ever seen in London. Charlton in 2003 and Arsenal last season. Apart from those two it has been many miserable visits for myself.
I was hoping today might bring the third victory in London I have ever seen. We arrived in the Emirates about an hour prior to kick off and found out the Villa side was unchanged with Emile Heskey passed fit to play.
Arsenal started the game brightly with Brad Friedel making a decent save from a tame strike by Eduardo.
Stephen Warnock had to clear from the goal mouth after Samir Nasri's free kick fell right at the feet of Eduardo. Denilson also had an opportunity on the edge of the box but his shot flew into the stand behind the goal.
Villa finally showed their attacking threat. Emile Heskey went close after being teed up by Gabby Agbonlahor. Ashley Young and Cuellar then both attempts which went wide. It was a solid defensive display and looked bright attacking in the first half and spirits were high and I felt we could definitely take something out of the game.
Arsenal started brightly and Carlos Cuellar was forced into clearing the ball off the goal line early in the second half. Brad Friedel then denied Arshavin with a brilliant stop. Cesc Fabregas was introduced. That was where the game swung horribly into the host's hands.
Arsenal won a free kick about 25 yards out and Fabregas curled his shot over the wall. 1-0. Brad Friedel had no chance.
Villa tried to get back into it and looked the more likely to score but then James Milner played a suicidal ball which fell to the Arsenal players who broke quickly and the ball was played through to Fabregas who made it 2-0. Game over. Frustrating as it looked like we were getting on top.
The Villa never gave up. Gabby Agbonlahor should have burst the net with a one on one but Almunia charged the ball down.
In the final minute, Diaby shot from the edge of the Villa area and made it 3-0 to the Arsenal. One word on the referee- Mr Phil Dowd. He actually got a lot of the key decisions correct but he got some what I'd call 'niggly' decisions wrong. At times it just seemed to be advantage to Arsenal as far as the referee was concerned.
The time when an Arsenal player just lay down on the ball was the worst for me. It was a clear obstruction to Agbonlahor going through. Gabby got frustrated and pushed someone and a free kick was given the other way. But it should never have got to that point in my opinion. I think 3-0 flattered the Gunners.
They deserved to win but 1-0 would have been correct. Even 2-0 would have been deserved but 3-0 was harsh on the Villa. We weren't that bad. I'm not reading too much into it. A tough place to go the Emirates. We have had a hectic schedule recently and i think the boys deserve some plaudits for the way they have been playing recently, today was a bit of an off day but there's a chance to put that right on Tuesday night against Liverpool.
Keep the Faith guys.
Up the Villa.
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Date:Monday December 28 2009
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