Aston Villa 2-2 Arsenal: Tactical View

The draw against Villa means at the halfway stage Arsenal have dropped 25 points so far this season and any slim of chances of winning the title means the Gunners must get double Liverpool’s current tally of 42.
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Arsenal's Neves Denilson (l) wins the ball ahead of Aston Villa's Gareth Barry and Stiliyan Petrov

This means only five points can be dropped out of a possible 57 to get to the tally of 84. None of the big four have looked on top form so points can be dropped although Chelsea and Man United have players coming back.

High Balls and Possession
Arsenal were beaten too much in the air yesterday but the first half saw six outfield players capable of the header; Sagna, Toure, Gallas, Silvestre, Diaby and Song (could also mention Van Persie). Maybe the Villa men were more committed; or maybe you could argue it is harder to defend when you are restricted in your movement from the corner kicks while the Villa men had the initiative as they were able to attack the ball.

Aston Villa’s game plan involved pressuring high not allowing the defence and the midfield to pass the ball out and penning them back. It worked for the majority of the first half but on the positive side the Gunners didn’t concede. Ashley Young and Milner also had the outlet of crossing early could they not get the ball through the centre. 40% of Villa’s attacks were from the left while Agbonlahor looked to take advantage of the unoccupied channel between full back and centre back.

For fifteen minutes of the second half Arsenal kept possession beautifully, providing support in the form of triangles and moving well. It was so good that Villa couldn’t create concluding that Arsenal’s defensive inefficiencies seem to come from the lack of ability to hold on the ball for long enough this season therefore denying pressure.

Zat Knight Goal

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Aston Villa deserved the win and even though they didn’t have many chances in the second half they piled on the pressure as Arsenal got nervous and overwhelmed. For Zat Knight’s goal Arsenal took their mind off the game for a while and where outnumbered in the box. The result a cracking finish from the centre back with his left foot but for Arsenal the cause of concern would be that they have let in 13 goals after 60 minutes, 7 of those from 75-90+ minutes.

Arsene Wenger said there were too much players at that moment trying to defend the ball which was laughed off by the media but his quote may not have been fully understood. The build up saw a number of players too preoccupied with the throw in and as a result were out numbered in the box.

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Eboue and Diaby were marking no one while Denilson couldn't provide the presence around the box. Song was missing as he made four tackles in the first half but maybe part of the problem was his inability to play the right pass.

Man Of The Match: Aston Villa produced a fine team effort with a number of cracking performances but Abou Diaby gets it for his all action display.
Goal of the match: Abou Diaby’s produced a great piece of skill and finished off a breathtaking counter attack.
Save of the match: Bakary Sagna saved Arsenal with an acrobatic clearance of the line which was unmatched by either keeper.

Read the Match Analysis for more on the match. Please leave your comments and thoughts on the match and the article, I would be interested to hear them.

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