Elation after ninety minutes in North-West England has transformed into disarray amongst the Arsenal contingency in North London this evening.
Mikel Arteta was trumped by a simple game plan from one of England’s finest, Dean Smith. For the first time since 1998, Arsenal have lost back to back games against the Villans.
When Arsenal attempted to string one or two passes together the string kept getting cut but when Aston Villa had possession the piece of string was just getting longer and longer.
The only things that were getting longer and longer for Arsenal, however, was the open play goal drought for Aubameyang and the duration of the evening, for the Gunners, as the rain battered down in North London. It was a night to remember for the visitors as they went out with a bang.
Arsenal fans were forced to question Mikel Arteta’s integrity for the first time since his tenure began less than twelve months ago. Tonight, Arsenal fans took to Twitter to compare one Spaniard to another and there’s no hiding that was a performance Mikel Arteta’s fellow compatriot, Unai Emery, would have been proud of.
The horror show in North London began with John McGinn being clean through within forty seconds of the first whistle and the night just got more and more sombre, for Arsenal, as the match progressed.
It was a wake-up call but Arsenal pressed snooze and went back to sleep. No Thomas, in the second half, meant no Partey for Arsenal as the Ghanaian was substituted at half time after picking up a thigh injury just before the interval.
As we remembered the soldiers that defended our country in the two World Wars, our war hero of last season Emiliano Martinez was not once called into action by Arsenal’s lethargic armoury. The Argentinian shot shopper has now got as many clean sheets at the Emirates Stadium, this season, as Bernd Leno.
For Mikel Arteta, a period to reflect and perfect during the dull and drab international break. The Spaniard pondered in his technical area, lost for ideas – a nuisance for his normal self. Usually a such a multilingual character, Mikel Arteta could not speak tactically to the weapons he was able to deploy tonight.
While the UK’s Number 10 announces a national lockdown, Arsenal’s Number 10 is made to stay at home too. When it is not Mikel Arteta’s night, on a night such tonight, rest be assured Mesut Ozil will be trending on social media and questions will be asked why the ever-controversial figure was not included in the 23-man-squad.
Arsenal’s brick wall, less than seven days ago, became a pile of rubble tonight.
Unchanged from Old Trafford, Arsenal used their performance in Manchester as a model.
Nonetheless, Aston Villa ran their socks off for 90 minutes and as The Gunners capitulated Aston Villa capitalised with not one, not two but three goals to take on their travels with their national teams.
An eerie Emirates Stadium was left silenced by Trezeguet’s attempted header, left stifled by Watkins first effort and left stunned by Watkins’ brace. Just days after the festivities of Halloween, Arsenal’s belated celebrations meant that Zombies took over in place of the Arsenal contingency as they reappeared from the tunnel after the interval.
A performance that was synonymous to that of a fortnight ago against Brendan Rodgers’ foxes meant Mikel Arteta was forced into admitting he would have to re-evaluate his tactics against low block sides during the disruption caused by the international break.
“Routine victory,” some said. “Emiliano Martinez’s career ends today,” others said. But this ladies and gentlemen, this is football and this is the magic of the Premier League.
Arsenal were on cloud nine just 7 days prior after winning at Old Trafford for the first time since 2006. However, tonight, the only cloud was those that overshadowed a gloomy night for all associated with the club in North London.