It is interesting how the world changes. On 1 March Aston “If you go down, hold your head” Villa (so named after their tactics at the Ems this season) were six points clear of Arsenal, following a 2-2 draw with Stoke.
But despite this rarefied position in the league their fans were full of utter dismay, raving against the players – and full of criticism at the way the club had chosen to opt out of the UEFA Cup (by sending a junior team to be defeated by CSKA Moscow) in order to ensure they didn’t get overwhelmed by fixtures and distracted in their drive for fourth position in the league.)
The worries of the Hold Your Head fans were well justified, for their club was in the midst of a run which over the last seven games reads won nil, drawn two, lost five.
With Hold Your Head out of the FA Cup and the UEFA Cup they only have the EPL to play for, and their form is not of the best, as the result today against the Tiny Totts at home, shows. Here’s the summary
Aston Villa last seven games
Lost 5, drew 2, won 0
Lost to Everton in FA Cup 1-3
Drew with CSKA
Lost to Chelsea EPL 0-1
Lost to CSKA
Drew with Stoke EPL 2-2
Lost to Tottenham EPL 1-2
Arsenal meanwhile were being booed by a tiny minority of the 60,000 in the Ems after a few games that were thought to be not too wonderful, although the club has just gone 19 games without defeat (if one accepts the Champs League game won on penalties as a victory). Looking at the league alone this is 15 games without defeat.
To compare with the Aston Hold Your Head figures above here’s Arsenal over the last seven.
Arsenal last seven games
Lost 0, drew 2, Won 5
Drew with Fulham EPL 0-0
Beat WBA EPL 3-1
Beat AS Roma Champs League on penalties
That clearly puts Arsenal in the better position – not only above Hold Your Head on goal difference, but actually in a much better run of form.
And there is a slight matter of players. Thinking of the game against the evil and vile
Arshavin is getting the hang of the EPL, and looks a stunning talent. And he’s going to get better game by game.
Theo is short of match practice, and not near his previous best, but even at this standard, he brings something new to the side
A back four of Arshavin, Cesc, Denilson, Theo looks incredibly strong to me, but it makes me a bit sad for Song who is massively improved of late, and Nasri who has done so much all season, carrying the creative banner virtually on his own. And where do we put Rosicky?
With some luck by the time of the next round of the Champs League we should have a fairly decent forward line to pick from, not to mention a stunning midfield.
This looks a powerful squad to me, and even allowing for the fact that there are internationals coming up when we can expect our squad once again to be decimated by the insanity of the idiot managers who will do anything to keep a player on the pitch for another two minutes, it seems more than enough to see us through.
Better, the squad can only get better. When the age is taken into account, this looks a very powerful team indeed.
The EPL will of course do nothing to ban Allerdyce from football (see previous article), but at least we can continue to grow and develop.
(c) Tony Attwood 2009
- Arsenal v Leicester footnote: bad runs and past games
- Arsenal v Leicester; the injuries, the team, recent games, ludicrous predictions
- Arsenal v Leicester: comparing the form, and the goalscorers
- Arsenal v Leicester: how will the ref handle Leicester’s multiple tackling?
- What sort of referee is Darren England? The statistics reveal some odd facts.