What a remarkable, unbelieveable turn of events on and off the field in recent days.
With results and managerial sackings going our way, there was no better time to get a win that lifts Villa out of the relegation zone for the first time since February.
The victory over Arsenal represents a huge leap towards safety. The work isn’t done, with a win over West Ham required, but this is a massive, unexpected and welcome step towards retaining our Premier League status. If we do pull it off, it will be nothing short of remarkable from where we were.
Untroubled for long periods, but very good distribution wise and collected well on a number of occasions. The one scare came in the second half after Arsenal hit the post, with the AC Milan loanee almost managing to juggle the rebound over the line. On review, the Spaniard’s knee fortuitously stop the ball from going over the line. Reina was right to kiss the ball afterwards!
Introduced early in the first half after Elmohamady couldn’t continue due to injury. Beaten a couple of times as Arsenal probed, but showed good movement forward at times. Made a crucial tackle in the second half, winning a goal kick in the process. Good energy and a promising display when called upon following a return from long term injury.
Appeared initially to have won a vital challenge in the second period, only to find himself booked for a foul on the edge of the area. A harsh decision for a strong but well timed challenge. Also had an opportunity to run on goal and shoot late in the game but tried to square when well placed. A tireless overall performance to limit Arsenal’s opportunity.
A dominant and largely composed display from Mings. Out-thought Aubameyang for the opening goal, fooling him into a laugh and joke before bursting past him – Trezeguet would fire in at the far post from the move. Always present at the heart of the defence, clearing up or hoofing the ball into row z when necessary. A near miss when Arsenal broke in the second half with the ball clipping his heels and running loose, but Villa recovered.
A standout performance, justifying his selection over Kortney Hause. Konsa fought and battled in both halves, made vital blocks and for the first time looked the complete partnership alongside Mings. An impressive, mature display.
Whilst not permitted the freedom to show as composed a performance as we’ve witnessed in recent weeks, this was another agile and top draw 90 minutes from the Brazilian. Luiz always shows for the ball and contributed relentlessly to link up play throughout the game. Never far from the action, he also had to chase regularly, picking up a yellow card for persistent fouling. Luiz continues to show his quality and increasingly his adaptability; priceless in our current circumstances. Superb again.
A more energetic display and arguably his best since returning from long term injury. Held the ball and fought earnestly in midfield. Might be dissappointed with a powerful drive as Villa looked to wrap up the game, striking a firm effort straight at the Arsenal keeper.
A much better overall performance over the 90 minutes, with Grealish central to much of Villa’s movement. Grealish is the obvious focal point, but Arsenal did permit him a number of dangerous runs and freedom in midfield. He will bemoan a Keinan Davis miss in the second half after a fine run and through ball was pushed wide. Ran hard until the end and did his bit clearing the lines as the ball broke around the box in the latter stages.
The Egyptian continues to baffle with his goalscoring contribution contrasting often erratic input elsewhere across the pitch. However, no-one could fault the quality of the finish to give Villa the lead and what would turn out to be the winner. Trezeguet had much to do as the ball flew through a crowd from a Conor Hourihane corner, lurking at the far corner of the penalty area, he lashed home a fierce finish into the bottom corner. Smith often cites Trezeguet’s work-rate, it’s not always pretty, but he absolutely gave 100% to the cause.
Another telling display from the Irish international who provided yet another assist, his fifth in a row. Hourihane is our main threat from set pieces, but he has visibly improved lately in terms of helping the team around him. Hourihane is tenacious, vocal and has a determination to win that comes through strong in his play. Motivated those coming onto the pitch when he was withdrawn to remind them not to throw away the hard work already done.
Worked harder but did seem isolated at times. An improved showing over what was seen at Everton, but rightly swapped for Davis midway through the second half.
Good hold up play, as ever, but will rue a missed chance to seal the points. Should have done better when put through by Grealish, but dragged a shot wide. Carried more threat than Samatta, certainly more direct, but confidence seemed to take a hit for the miss.