Match Day: Arsenal vs. Aston Villa

There’s been a lot of angst about the goals shipped in Villa’s last two, and with Southampton, I maintain it’s rather hard on the team to draw too many conclusions from a dead-ball masterclass from Ward-Prowse. Yes, reckless fouls on our part, and down to being second best in the early going. But ordinarily you just wouldn’t be punished so ruthlessly. Down three at the half, Villa would be forgiven for not quite believing they were three goals worse.

Today, though, it’s Arsenal, and they’ve had a couple decent results. But until Arteta & Co can show us this is a new era, we can be forgiven for expecting their up-and-down ways to continue. Doesn’t mean we come away with a victory today, of course. But this isn’t necessarily a team to fear any more than Southampton or Leeds, in the end. And we like being underdogs.

Can Villa Make it Five?

Tough, quality win at Leicester Sunday followed by a completely different test against Leeds tonight. Adding a bit of froth is the recent history between the two sides and the way the press has handled Marcelo Bielsa compared with Dean Smith.

Foxes Foiled, Villa Second. What’s Changed? The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

It’s hard to overstate what an important victory this was. No, we didn’t win anything, and no it won’t continue like this. But to come off the high of dismantling Liverpool, go away for two weeks, and return to grind out a win on the road against an undermanned but still highly capable and well-drilled Leicester squad shows a different mentality in the team. It’s not a game we’d have won last season. Neither was Liverpool, for that matter, but who’s counting?