Aston Villa suffered a bitterly disappointing defeat to Arsenal on Saturday, with Bukayo Saka’s goal securing a 1-0 win for the Gunners.
Villa were poor throughout, albeit slightly better in the second half, as we had to wait until near on the last kick of the game to register an attempt on target.
While Arsenal did well to frustrate us and limit our ability to threaten them, we made it far too easy for them both on and off the ball, and that in turn led to Steven Gerrard seemingly losing his cool in his post-match interview.
Villa’s inconsistency is a real problem, but it’s the same old issues that come to light when we struggle and that ultimately revolves around our midfield.
Aston Villa player ratings vs Arsenal:
Emi Martinez, 6 – Will be disappointed with the goal, albeit he probably saw it a little late, but was solid otherwise as he produced a couple of key saves to show his class and keep us in the game.
Matty Cash, 6 – Continued to push forward and tried to inject some urgency into our play, but couldn’t find that final ball and struggled with a lack of support around him.
Ezri Konsa, 6 – Bit uneasy on his return to the side, but started to settle as the game went on and produced a decent performance as we limited Arsenal’s chances.
Tyrone Mings, 6 – Similar story to Konsa, although the pair will probably be disappointed about the manner in which we conceded while the onus on them to play out from the back means that they have to improve that side of their game too.
Ashley Young, 6 – Solid shift from the Villa stalwart. Got caught out a couple times early on with Saka’s pace, but got to grips with it and defended well while trying to push forward as much as possible too.
John McGinn, 5.5 – Sloppy with his passing at times as he gifted possession back to Arsenal and couldn’t impose himself on the game like we need him to off the ball. Not helped by the fact that he effectively has to run around like a headless chicken at times doing two jobs in midfield.
Douglas Luiz, 4 – Offers very little in the way of defensive protection for the backline, by either getting caught out further up the pitch or being so poor positionally that he’s constantly scrambling. Fails to make himself an option while we’re in possession, leading to our back four playing long, hopeful balls up front with Watkins feeding off scraps.
Jacob Ramsey, 4 – Needs a rest as doesn’t look as sharp or dominant in the actions he’s involved in. Still bursts forward with the ball at his feet well, but isn’t doing enough right now on or off the ball and so it looks like he could do with a break.
Emi Buendia, 5 – Couldn’t influence the game but not entirely his fault. When Villa have two playmakers on the pitch, playing long balls forward, essentially bypassing our non-existent midfield and creative players will leave any No.10 or otherwise struggling to impact the game.
Philippe Coutinho, 5 – Similar story to Buendia. Unless Villa play a certain way which allows them to get on the ball in dangerous areas and influence our play, they will be kept quiet and isolated. Was a struggle for the Brazilian, although it’s fair to say that he was lacking a cutting edge to play even when he did receive the ball.
Ollie Watkins, 5 – His first touch continuously let him down and so he does have to improve that aspect of his game to play up top on his own. However, it keeps coming back to the same point as if we just pump hopeful balls forward high in the air for him to wrestle with aggressive and physical centre-halves, he’s obviously going to struggle and suffer.
Bertrand Traore, 4 – Did very little to influence the game after coming in a quiet cameo appearance.
Leon Bailey, 5.5 – Looked lively and immediately wanted to make an impression with his direct running and crosses into the box.
Danny Ings, N/A