The Premier League's ninety-two remaining games, spread across nine rounds of games are set to play out beginning June 17th 2020, with Project Restart's health and safety conditions meaning the remaining games of the season will be played out behind closed doors. We will be providing match reports from these behind closed doors competitive encounters as the league campaign nears its end-game. All aboard.
Match Report (GW37): Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal
Arsenal have been on a good run of form, and contrary to past seasons have big wins over top six clubs. Arteta has claimed the scalp of Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola in his last two games, with the latter coming in the FA Cup Semi-Finals. The in-form Arsenal team travel to an Aston Villa side who need three points in this fixture if they are to have any hope of staying in the Premier League next season. After a heavy loss to Man City, Watford could go into the bottom three due to goal difference.
The hosts nearly had an early lead, by John McGinn’s half chance wasn’t good enough to trouble Martinez in the Arsenal goal. El Mohamady looked like he was going to be withdrawn for Guilbert after ten minutes, tweaking his hamstring. The Egyptian stayed on the pitch bizarrely, but only lasted another fifteen minutes before finally being brought off.
After the drinks break, John McGinn makes a darting run towards the Arsenal goal in the 26th minute, and the Arsenal defence clear the ball for a Villa corner. Conor Hourihane from the corner founds the head of Mings, who flicks it back post where Trézéguet is standing unmarked in front of the far post. Striking the ball of half volley the ball squeezes into the corner for the Aston Villa lead. The man of the hour strikes again for Villa, with a goal that puts them out of the relegation zone by the margin of one goal over Watford. A goal which disrupted Arsenal’s possession if fortuitous for the Midlands club.
Arsenal’s pressing in the first half was lacklustre, and when the Villains had possession of the ball they were looking after it well. Compared to the last two wins the intensity had dipped. They were looking disjointed with the new changes brought in up until the end of the first half.
The evening could have gotten worse for Arsenal before the half-time break. Konsa wins the ball from a sloppy Arsenal, the ball finds its way to Grealish who makes a driving run and cuts in, and nearly has the ball in the back of the net, just dipping away from the far post.
The best chance not scored in the game so far goes to substitute Davis, as Villa countered the Gunners, Grealish fed Davis the ball, and he attempted to slot in at a forty-five degree angle but the ball just missed the post. That explains Davis’ season, he has had the chances, and it could rue their result. Should have been 2-0.
Arsenal should have had an equaliser a minute from a corner, with Nketiah getting in front of Konsa expertly, and connecting a header which came off the bar, forcing Pepe Reina to clear up and jump on the ball. John McGinn in the 77th minute had a chance to clinch the game, with the back-and-forth returning to the edge of the Arsenal box where the Scotsman lashed a shot that was saved from a shaky Martinez.
Aston Villa managed the remainder of the game to obtain an incredibly precious three points, that place the midlands club above the relegation zone for the first time since February, with one important game to go. The final day between Villa and Watford could be decided on goal difference.
Aston Villa Contributions
Goals: Trézéguet (1)
Assists: Mings (1)
Man of the Match: Jack Grealish (AVL)
Aston Villa were a team today, and they got a team result when it was desperately needed. The man pulling the strings on the pitch today was Jack Grealish, he was the trigger of every counter attack which was pivotal to Villa’s game plan today, and he made five or six scoreable chances today which would have widened the goal margin for the Villains. He also did his fair share of defending, and didn’t waste the ball when he received it. Grealish had a captains display today, and led his team by example when it was required.
AVL 1-0 ARS - Insight and Analysis:
Well, well, well. What a surprising result. Villa are out of the relegation zone for the first time since February, and right now their destiny is in their own hands. They have the favourable fixture against West Ham, whilst Watford have Arsenal on the final day. I can really see Villa do the impossible. Bournemouth could as well if Watford and Villa both lose, and I can’t remember a relegation final day drama like this. A lot of neutrals are trying to put an asterisk on the league not being the same, trying to put that little mark on Liverpool’s title, but after watching Villa fight like they did, the spirit of the league is still there without the fans. That game would have been amazing with the fans.
Villa were all over Arsenal today, and it was a deserved win, with the changes made since the FA Cup Semi-Final win not putting Arsenal over the line in this game.
Venue: Villa Park
Manager: Dean Smith
GK: Pepe Reina
RB: El Mohamady
CB: Tyrone Mings
LB: Matt Targett
CM: John McGinn
CM: Douglas Luiz
CM: Conner Hourihane
Nyland, Lansbury, Nakamba, El Ghazi, Jota, Guilbert, Hause, Vassilev, Keenan Davis
Manager: Mikel Arteta
GK: Emi Martinez
RWB: Cedric Soares
CB: Rob Holding
CB: David Luiz
CB: Sead Kolasinac
LWB: Bukayo Saka
CM: Dani Ceballos
CM: Lucas Torreira
RW: Eddie Nketiah
Matthew Ryan Macey, Hector Bellerin, Kieran Tierney, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Nicolas Pepe, Joe Willock, Granit Xhaka, Matthew Smith
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