After a fine start to the new campaign (with wins over Sheffield United, Fulham, Liverpool and Leicester), we have been brought firmly back to earth after defeats to Leeds and Southampton.
Despite this new-look Villa side looking significantly improved over the squad that just survived 2019/20, few could over-look two very poor halves of football.
Indeed, those seperate 45 minutes saw Dean Smith’s side totally blown away by the high-intensity of Bielsa and completely out-thought by Ralph Hasenhüttl.
Arsenal, a club seemingly in cycles of transition, have steadied under Mikel Arteta. Villa go to The Emirates knowing that the hosts beat Manchester United last time out.
Smith was rightly proud of our improved defensive prowess, but the backline has heaved seven against in its previous two outings.
There’s often a strange symmetry in football, and true to form, Arsenal are now the side with the best defence in the division.
Smith must make do without new signing Bertrand Traore, who is out with a groin strain suffered early in the first half against Southampton.
This could be a tricky encounter to navigate, but in a season and period of unpredictable results, who knows? It would be preferable to avoid a third slump inducing defeat however. An away point? That would do nicely for sure.
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VILLA TEAM NEWS
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