By 1970’s Gooner
Arsene Wenger’s changes in the starting line up meant that the team lacked rhythm and understanding between the players. Add the wet conditions and a resolute young Villa side and you could have predicted the stalemate.
Wenger’s decision to play Ramsey in the middle and the Ox on the wing created anxiety inside me.
Ramsey is not a penetrative nor is he a defensively minded midfielder. When he is played in a middle three which includes Cazorla and Arteta then he gets lost in two minds. Does he play in a more restrained manner staying back to help Arteta or does he move forward with the ball but risk crowding out Cazorla in the process.
He did neither against Villa and that meant that we gave the opportunity to Villa’s midfield to press us successfully in the middle and often steal the ball from Ramsey putting us under pressure. Coquelin should have started the game if Wilshere was not available.
Wilshere can play both roles to perfection but alas Wenger decided to rest him ready for the Everton game midweek. Wrong decision in my opinion.
The Ox I like but he has been off form in the last few games. That was very obvious to me. And true to form he did not inject pace nor real penetration on the wing. Walcott was not injured he was rested. Wenger should have played Walcott who is sizzling hot at the moment. Wrong decision again.
If Wilshere and Walcott had played tonight the team would have been traveling to the Everton game with a win under their belt and their confidence sky high.
Szczesny : Coming back to form. Brilliant save tipping the ball on to the bar from a well struck shot from outside the box. Has to improve his kicking though. 7
Jenkinson: Solid even if he was out for the last few games. Failed to put in the crosses for Giroud though as Sagna has been doing recently. 6
Gibbs: A much needed return to the team. He is more solid at the back and much more dangerous going forward than Vermaelen. 6
Mertersacker: A very robust and effective all round display both in the air and on the ground. He is a much improved defender this season and a player that the team can rely on. 8
Koscienly: A solid and workman like display. Did very well in the air and in bringing the ball forward from defence. Arsenal now have three equally good central defenders. 7
Arteta: Performed his defensive duties effectively and without too much fuss. A very reliable professional. 7
Ramsey: See above. 5
Cazorla: Was not at his effervescent best tonight. He tends to struggle a little bit when he is closed down. This happened with Chelsea and at Manchester United and we lost those games. He will learn to deal with this I am sure. 6
The Ox: See above. 5
Podolski: A performance that did not create anything of note I am afraid. Rarely got beyond his man nor did he come inside to threaten. 5
Giroud: Did not get the service he deserved as both wingers or their respective fullbacks did not get any quality crosses in for him. 6
Subs: Gervinho 4, Arshavin 4, Coquelin 5.