Arsenal vs Aston Villa / Aston Villa vs Arsenal

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 08: Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal reacts after a missed chance during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium on November 08, 2020 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Aston Villa vs Arsenal

  • 12.30pm Saturday, 6 February, 2021
    Villa Park
    BT Sport
  • Referee: Chris Kavanagh
  • Line 1: Daniel Cook
  • Line 2: Constantine Hatzidakis
  • Fourth official: Darren England
  • VAR: David Coote
  • Assistant VAR: Sian Massey-Ellis
Source

Referee who sent off 2 Arsenal players in charge vs Aston Villa

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 31: Match Referee, Chris Kavanagh looks on ahead of the Premier League match between Leicester City and Leeds United at The King Power Stadium on January 31, 2021 in Leicester, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
LEICESTER, ENGLAND – JANUARY 31: Match Referee, Chris Kavanagh looks on ahead of the Premier League match between Leicester City and Leeds United at The King Power Stadium on January 31, 2021 in Leicester, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Chris Kavanagh – Referee

English referee Chris Kavanagh shows a yellow card to Arsenal's English midfielder Emile Smith Rowe after reviewing his initial red card during the English FA Cup third round football match between Arsenal and Newcastle United at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 9, 2021. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)
English referee Chris Kavanagh shows a yellow card to Arsenal’s English midfielder Emile Smith Rowe after reviewing his initial red card during the English FA Cup third round football match between Arsenal and Newcastle United at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 9, 2021. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

Chris Kavanagh returns for his fifth Arsenal involvement with Arsenal this season in the Premier League, although you will also remember him from the FA Cup against Newcastle (picture above) when he sent off Emile Smith Rowe only to have to change his mind after a VAR review.

You might also remember him from last season when he sent Eddie Nketiah off against Leicester after initially giving him a yellow and then changing his mind after he got another go.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Match Referee, Chris Kavanagh checks a VAR decision on screen ahead of showing Eddie Nketiah of Arsenal (not pictured) a red card during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Leicester City at Emirates Stadium on July 07, 2020 in London, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 07: Match Referee, Chris Kavanagh checks a VAR decision on screen ahead of showing Eddie Nketiah of Arsenal (not pictured) a red card during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Leicester City at Emirates Stadium on July 07, 2020 in London, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Kavanagh, a 35-year-old ref from Manchester, has been a regular fixture at Arsenal games over the last few seasons. Last campaign only Paul Tierney had more involvements with Arsenal in an official capacity than Kavanagh who took part 11 times (six as referee, two as fourth official and three as VAR).

This season he only has the four involvements so far but the game against Aston Villa will take him to five (all as referee).

Arsenal have won just one of those games, the opener against Fulham, and the Mancunian has flashed a total of nine yellows with three going to Arsenal and six to their opponents (22 Arsenal fouls v 27 opposition).

Kavanagh has not sent off a player nor given a penalty in any of his Arsenal games so far this season.

Daniel Cook and Constantine Hatzidakis – Line

Dan Cook and Constantine Hatzidakis have been involved in a total of six Arsenal games between them this season (three each).

Darren England –  Fourth official

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 30: Assistant referee Darren England looks on during the FA Cup Final between Aston Villa and Arsenal at Wembley Stadium on May 30, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 30: Assistant referee Darren England looks on during the FA Cup Final between Aston Villa and Arsenal at Wembley Stadium on May 30, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

This will only be Darren England’s second Arsenal involvement this season. His previous came as fourth official against West Ham which Arsenal won in the second game of the season.

David Coote VAR

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02: Bernd Leno of Arsenal remonstrates with Fourth Official, David Coote as he walks off after being shown a red card during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Arsenal at Molineux on February 02, 2021 in Wolverhampton, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 02: Bernd Leno of Arsenal remonstrates with Fourth Official, David Coote as he walks off after being shown a red card during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Arsenal at Molineux on February 02, 2021 in Wolverhampton, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

This will be David Coote’s seventh involvement with Arsenal making him the official most likely to get an Arsenal match.

Given the fact that Arsenal have played just 22 games, Coote has been involved in a whopping 27% of games with that percentage rising to 30.4% with his inclusion against Aston Villa.

Three of his previous six appearances have come on VAR, making this his fourth time in charge of the TV. To put it another way, David Coote has been in charge of making Arsenal’s VAR decisions in almost 20% of their games.

Does that seem fair or right?

This was a point I made repeatedly last season. That sort of familiarity breeds contempt.

Coote, an official who Wikipedia doesn’t even have a date of birth, age estimate or place of birth for, was on VAR for Arsenal games against Fulham, Aston Villa (the home match we lost), and Burnley.

He’s from Nottingham and used to be “employed as Football Development Manager by Manchester CFA responsible for football and facility development across Greater Manchester, following extensive development experience,” according to his Linkedin profile.

Given he started his degree in 2000, we can assume he’s around 38 or 39.

He was fourth official for both debacles against Wolves this season.

A National List Referee since 2010, with major honours including refereeing the League 1 Play Off Final and FA Vase Final in 2014, Coote also lists three J League fixtures in Japan that same year as part of an exchange programme on his CV.

A full time Championship referee since 2016, he was then promoted to Premier League referees list in 2018.

Coote became a professional referee in July 2016 and is probably most well known for allowing Jordan Pickford to break Virgil van Dijk.

Sian Massey-Ellis Assistant VAR

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 16: Assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis with referee Paul Tierney during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Southampton at Emirates Stadium on December 16, 2020 in London, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Adrian Dennis - Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 16: Assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis with referee Paul Tierney during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Southampton at Emirates Stadium on December 16, 2020 in London, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Adrian Dennis – Pool/Getty Images)

Still awaiting her first match as referee despite being in the league longer than some of her male counterparts from this game who have all been promoted above her, Massey-Ellis is taking part in her sixth Arsenal game of the season (one as line 1, two as line 2, and three assistant VAR).

Massey-Ellis has been a professional for two years more than Coote. Kavanagh was handed his first Premier League matches three years after he first started in the Football League in 2014.

By that time, Massey-Ellis had been involved with Premier League matches since 2008 and was named as an assistant referee for the first time in 2010. She is still yet to be trusted as referee or VAR despite repeatedly proving her ability.

In fact, in 2020 Massey-Ellis, along with Kavanagh and Coote were named as the officials for the Uefa Youth League final.

She was the least senior of all three officials, taking the second assistant spot.

Ryan to start: How Arsenal could line up vs Aston Villa

Mikel Arteta File Photo File photo dated 08-11-2020 of Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.Copyright: Andy Rain
Mikel Arteta File Photo File photo dated 08-11-2020 of Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta. Copyright: Andy Rain

After an incredibly frustrating defeat to Wolves, let’s have a look at the Arsenal team we predict Mikel Arteta to select to bounce back against Aston Villa.

The less said about the Wolves game, the better, but it’s fair to say the Arsenal squad will be feeling a sense of injustice. They now need to channel that into motivation to get a result away at Villa Park on Saturday.

One bit of good news going into this game is that Arsenal don’t have another for over a week afterwards. The next midweek is for FA Cup fixtures, so Arteta’s squad can rest up.

As a result, we’re not predicting a huge number of changes. Obviously, there are one or two required by the red-card suspensions for Bernd Leno and David Luiz, but here’s how we think Arsenal will line up overall.

Goalkeeper

Mat Ryan after signing for Arsenal (Photo via Arsenal.com)
Mat Ryan after signing for Arsenal (Photo via Arsenal.com)

We know this is one position where Arteta has to make a change. Bernd Leno picked up a one-match ban for his handball on Tuesday, and this is that one match.

The big question is whether Mat Ryan will be fit. If he is, you’d expect him to start, given the amount of Premier League experience he has compared to Runar Alex Runarsson. Otherwise, Runarsson will be making his first league start in England.

Right now, it looks like Ryan has passed his late fitness tests. Icelandic reporter Hjörvar Hafliðason, who seemingly has links to Inaki Cana and Runar Alex Runarsson, claims Ryan will start.

Defence

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND: Cedric Soares of Arsenal is challenged by Kyle Walker-Peters of Southampton during The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Southampton FC and Arsenal FC on January 23, 2021. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND: Cedric Soares of Arsenal is challenged by Kyle Walker-Peters of Southampton during The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Southampton FC and Arsenal FC on January 23, 2021. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

It’s hard to see many changes from the back four that finished the match against Wolves on Tuesday.

If Arteta sounded pessimistic on Ryan’s fitness, he was even more so on Kieran Tierney, admitting Tierney “wasn’t close at all” to playing in midweek. As a result, Cedric Soares should start.

David Luiz is out with his suspension, and Pablo Mari is only just returning from injury, so Gabriel Magalhaes is nailed on to start at left-centre-back. Rob Holding will probably keep his place on the right, with Hector Bellerin at right-back.

Midfield

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND: Thomas Partey of Arsenal runs with the ball during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Arsenal at Molineux on February 02, 2021. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND: Thomas Partey of Arsenal runs with the ball during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Arsenal at Molineux on February 02, 2021. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

One small positive consequence of the red cards against Wolves was that a couple of players came off earlier than expected. Thomas Partey was one of them, leaving the field to make way for Runarsson. As a result, he should be able to start this one too.

Granit Xhaka will surely start alongside him, as the pair are forming a good partnership at the base of Arsenal’s midfield.

It’s hard to call who will get the nod in front of them. For the time being, Arteta seems to be keen to continue giving Emile Smith Rowe chances if at all possible. Tuesday seemed like a chance to rotate with Martin Odegaard, but it didn’t happen.

After Smith Rowe was forced to complete the full 90 against Wolves for a team with nine men, after his recent injury problems, surely this time he has to rest.

Forwards

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND: Nicolas Pepe of Arsenal celebrates with team mates (L-R) Alexandre Lacazette and Hector Bellerin of Arsenal after scoring their side's first goal during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Arsenal at Molineux on February 02, 2021. (Photo by Nick Potts - Pool/Getty Images)
WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND: Nicolas Pepe of Arsenal celebrates with teammates (L-R) Alexandre Lacazette and Hector Bellerin of Arsenal after scoring their side’s first goal during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Arsenal at Molineux on February 02, 2021. (Photo by Nick Potts – Pool/Getty Images)

Like Partey, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe came off early against Wolves, with Lacazette making way for Gabriel at half-time and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang replacing Pepe.

You’d think that would mean both are available to start against Villa. It seems like Pepe is also a better fit than the alternatives on the left while Arsenal are playing a right-footed left-back, as they are at the moment.

Bukayo Saka has to start on the right, as he remains one of Arsenal’s main threats in attack. He was unlucky not to get a single goal from his explosive start on Tuesday.

That means Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Willian, and Gabriel Martinelli on the bench.

Arsenal Predicted Lineup vs Aston Villa

Arsenal Predicted Lineup vs Aston Villa created with Chosen11.com
Arsenal Predicted Lineup vs Aston Villa created with Chosen11.com
LONDON, ENGLAND: Emile Smith Rowe of Arsenal celebrates scoring the third goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium on October 22, 2021. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

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LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 22: Axel Tuanzebe and Tyrone Mings help up Emiliano Martinez of Aston Villa after they concede their second goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium on October 22, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

So-called ‘cruel’ Arsenal Emi Martinez chant explained

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LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 22: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal celebrate after the Premier League match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium on October 22, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

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LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 22: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang interacts with Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal as he is substituted during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium on October 22, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Lacazette, Aubameyang and Tierney injury updates

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LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 22: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal celebrates after scoring their team's second goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium on October 22, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

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Arsenal put in a superb performance to smash Aston Villa on Friday night in a game that delivered the opposite of what we all expected.

Emi Martinez: Aston Villa a step up from Arsenal for me

14 November 2020

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 30: Emiliano Martinez of Arsenal reacts during the Carabao Cup Round of 16 match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on October 30, 2019 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 30: Emiliano Martinez of Arsenal reacts during the Carabao Cup Round of 16 match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on October 30, 2019 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Emi Martinez has reiterated that he believes Aston Villa are a step up from Arsenal in case we didn’t hear him the first time.

Emi Martinez likes to repeat himself.

Over the summer, after he had decided he needed to be guaranteed of the Arsenal number one shirt, he took every opportunity he came across to mention it. In the end, it was beyond tedious.

Then he left and joined Aston Villa, claiming that it was a step up in his career and here he is a few months on saying the same thing.

“When I decided to come to Villa it was because I trusted the manager’s ambitions, the club’s ambitions. I knew what a big club Villa is. People don’t realise how big it is,” Martinez told the Independent.

Emi Martinez in the Independent on Saturday
Emi Martinez in the Independent on Saturday

“They were all saying it was a step down in my career but I will always say it was a step up.

“We’re going to have a really good season … I’ve said since day one my ambition is to be in Europe with Villa,” Martinez said. “I want to take this club as high as possible and I think we’re on the right path. Do I think it can be done this season? Yes. We have to work for it.”

Speaking after he signed for Aston Villa, Martinez said, “I’m in the best shape of my career and when I didn’t have the security of that game time, I wasn’t sure about staying. I’m fighting to be Argentina’s number one, that’s my dream.

“Aston Villa is a massive club, I had no doubts over coming here. Everyone thinks it’s a step down going from Arsenal to Villa, but I actually think it’s a step up in my career.”

Are Arsenal fans being unfair to Bernd Leno?

Before picking up a knee injury at Brighton, many Arsenal fans were calling for a Bernd Leno statue, such was the German’s contribution last season, but Emi Martinez’s cameo showed just how fickle fans really are.

Arsenal's German goalkeeper Bernd Leno saves a shot from Liverpool's Portuguese striker Diogo Jota during the English League Cup fourth round football match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on October 1, 2020. (Photo by Peter Byrne / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by PETER BYRNE/AFP via Getty Images)
Arsenal’s German goalkeeper Bernd Leno saves a shot from Liverpool’s Portuguese striker Diogo Jota during the English League Cup fourth round football match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on October 1, 2020. (Photo by Peter Byrne / AFP)

Emi Martinez was at Arsenal for 10 years but that was more luck than design. The club tried to sell him in the summer of 2019 and, after six loans, was seemingly headed for the door in the summer of 2020, too.

Then Leno’s knee crumpled when he was shoved by Neal Maupay in a game that would ultimately cost two Arsenal players their Arsenal careers.

Martinez stepped in and impressed, there is no doubt. He showed a form and level of concentration he had not managed in the previous decade. If he had, then the club wouldn’t have been trying to get rid of him.

Nine Premier League appearances and a run in the FA Cup to help Arsenal win the trophy was enough to convince Martinez that he could demand the club make him number one on a permanent basis.

Fans joined him.

There was no agreement to be found between player and club and Martinez was sold to Aston Villa where he has performed adequately. Stats show that he is overperforming while Leno is currently underperforming. As such, they are both of a level so far this season. You can see more on that below.

But every mistake Leno makes is greeted with cries from a large section of fans that we sold the wrong keeper.

How short their memories really are.

Make no mistake, there were times last season when we were talking, in all seriousness, that Bernd Leno was the only reason Arsenal weren’t in the relegation zone. Do you remember how bad we were until Unai Emery was sacked?

I mean, do you really remember?

Leno hasn’t made the greatest start to this season, for whatever reason, but given most Arsenal fans aren’t watching Aston Villa on a regular basis, claims Martinez is a better option are baseless. It’s recency bias in play.

At the time of his injury, Leno was number two in the list of goalkeepers with the most saves last season in the Premier League and second for punched clearances, and we all know what we saw with our own eyes. People weren’t calling for a statue for Leno just for a laugh (not that they are serious about him getting a statue). They also weren’t calling for Martinez to replace him.

Bernd Leno Football.London, 2 April 2020
Football.London, 2 April 2020

This is what I wrote when Leno was first injured and we were having to turn to Martinez at a time when every point really did matter; “We now have to turn to a keeper who, at 27, should be hitting the best years of his life but has made just 26 first team appearances for Arsenal in 10 years.

“In fact, it has looked very much like the club were trying to replace him as number two given the number of keepers we’ve already been linked with.”

Nobody disagreed. In fact, people willingly joined me in what, thankfully, turned out to be unnecessary concern.

But the concern was, nonetheless, there.

How soon people forget…

Emi Martinez vs Bernd Leno was always going to be the big talking point as Martinez returned to the Emirates with Aston Villa, so how is he doing compared to Bernd Leno?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 30: Emiliano Martinez of Arsenal reacts during the Carabao Cup Round of 16 match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on October 30, 2019 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 30: Emiliano Martinez of Arsenal reacts during the Carabao Cup Round of 16 match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on October 30, 2019 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Every time Bernd Leno makes a mistake, Twitter is flooded with comments from Arsenal fans about how we should have kept Emi Martinez.

The Argentine, Twitter would have you believe, is better in just about every metric measuring a goalkeeper despite the fact he was an Arsenal player for 10 years before he looked good enough to be our number one.

So, let’s look at this season’s stats. There are some surprises for a few of you.

Emi Martinez vs Bernd Leno (up to 7 November 2020)

Emi Martinez Bernd Leno
Minutes played (league)
540 630
Goals against
9 7
Goals against xGA
8.1 8.2
Goals against per 90 mins
1.5 1
Shots on target faced
28 26
Saves
20 19
Save %
67.9 72
Cleansheet %
50 28.6
Penalties conceded
0 0
Free kick goals conceded
2 0
Corner kick goals conceded
0 1
Own goals conceded
0 0
Post-shot xG
+0.5 -0.4
Post-shot xG per 90
+0.09 -0.05
Long pass completed
46 21
Long passes attempted
133 50
Long pass completion %
34.6 42
Passes attempted
180 234
Throws attempted
18 23
% launched
56.7 16.2
Average length of kicks
46.1 25.9
Average length goal kicks
61.5 29.9
% launched
79.5 32.4
Crosses faced
65 61
Crosses stopped by keeper
6 4
% crosses stopped
9.2 6.6
Defensive actions outside box
0 8
Defensive actions outside box per 90
0 1.14
Average distance outside box
12.6 18.1
Touches
226 289
Touches inside box
194 234
Live ball touches
163 232
Carries
122 167
Carried distance total
404 538
Carried distance total forward
250 266
Received ball
103 179
Received ball %
100 98.9
Points per game
2 1.71

Stats via fbref.com

As you can see from those stats Martinez is slightly overperforming while Leno is underperforming and that keeps them pretty level.

One thing is clear, even given that, Leno is far better with the ball at his feet than Martinez, despite what the prevailing wisdom would have you believe.

Emi Martinez and Bernd Leno make Premier League Top 3

Arteta angry at attitude in Arsenal vs Aston Villa

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 08: Arsenal players react as Ollie Watkins of Aston Villa scores his team's second goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium on November 08, 2020 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 08: Arsenal players react as Ollie Watkins of Aston Villa scores his team’s second goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium on November 08, 2020 in London, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta said he will not accept the mindset he saw from his Arsenal players against Aston Villa as the Gunners collapsed to a 3-0 home defeat in the Premier League.

The defeat left Arsenal in 11th place with just 12 points from eight games and four defeats already suffered. To rub salt into our wounds, Thomas Partey also picked up an injury.

Once again, we find ourselves with a negative goal difference (-1), we’ve yet to hit double figures for goals scored in the league (9) but at least we’re further from the bottom of the table (11 points to Sheffield United) than we are to the top (six to Leicester).

Asked if this result was just ‘one of those things’ that happens, the Arsenal boss couldn’t have been clearer with his answer. “Not for big teams,” Arteta told Arsenal.com. “Big teams can’t afford that. We cannot afford that. You win a football match, two football matches, three.

“We expect to win every game and this is the standard that we have to set. So if someone believes that winning one or two games is good enough, they’re completely wrong and I’m not going to accept that.

“I’m not going to accept that mindset at all and it’s obviously not what this club deserves. It’s my full responsibility and now I have to find a way to do it.

“I think that since I arrived here, it’s the first time that I’ve felt that we performed really under our standards and what we are trying to set at this football club. It’s unacceptable.

“I would like to have a game tomorrow morning to get this one out of the system. But as well, in difficult and bad moments, you get a lot of things. I want to see how people react, how players react and if we start to blame each other or if we just look at ourselves in the mirror and then try to become much better than what we’ve shown tonight, which we are.

“Then, after that, get everybody back together and get the fighting spirit, the belief and the commitment that we’ve shown since I got here, into every game.”

Speaking after the game, Arsenal fan and scorer of two of Villa’s goals, Ollie Watkins, said, “Most importantly we got the three points against a good side here. Unbelievable. We worked so hard.

Aston Villa's English striker Ollie Watkins celebrates scoring his team's third goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium in London on November 8, 2020. (Photo by Alastair Grant / POOL / AFP)
Aston Villa’s English striker Ollie Watkins celebrates scoring his team’s third goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium in London on November 8, 2020. (Photo by Alastair Grant / POOL / AFP)

“First half, from side to side. We know their game, they’re going to pass it and move it, we just had to cut off the lines into the midfield. I felt like we did that first half and second half it gave us the freedom to go and play.

“We’ve conceded quite a few goals the last couple of games, but it’s how we bounce back, and we’ve done that tonight. I’m loving it. Obviously there may be a bit of pressure. I’ve just got to get my head down, work hard, and that’s what I’m trying to do.

“Get goals, and thankfully it’s happening. I think there’s a lot to come [from us]. I think we’re very exciting and we can beat anyone.”

Arsenal vs Aston Villa (or Aston Villa vs Arsenal if you prefer) is a fixture that has been played since 1904 and it has returned more than it’s fair share of entertainment, but how did it all start?

Barely visible crowd at Arsenal vs Aston Villa, Plumstead, 1904
Barely visible crowd at Arsenal vs Aston Villa, Plumstead, 1904, Kentish Independent by Messrs Baldby & Rixon, Wellington Street, Woolwich

Arsenal vs Aston Villa first took place on 8 October, 1904, in front of 32,000 spectators at the Manor Ground, Plumstead. The Gunners had only just been promoted to the First Division ahead of the start of the season and were still called Woolwich Arsenal.

Playing into the sun and against a strong wind in the first half, Arsenal really let fly in the second. “And then how much Woolwich Arsenal had been playing within themselves against the ill conditions was shown when they ‘let themselves go’,” The Morning Post wrote two days later.

“Woolwich in pace and skill outplayed Aston Villa in the last half house, and their zealous and high-spirited football was worth much more than the odd goal of the match. The victory was the triumph of the half-backs.

“Woolwich Arsenal have now thoroughly justified their promotion to the first degree of the League. They have not been beaten at home, and their success in two matches against strong sides have drawn from them that fine ability which their brilliant career in the Second Division made it almost obvious that they possessed.

“Aston Villa were criticised on Saturday as being something of a disappointment. But, after all, there is something in the dictum, that ‘a side generally plays as well as its opponent let it.’

“That the Arsenal football has ‘caught on’ tremendously in the London area was again proved by the immense attendance. And it is now time that the South-Eastern and Chatham Company should endeavour to make it possible to get to Plumstead on a Saturday with some slighter degree of discomfort than has been recently experienced. The congested state of the trains from Cannon-Street and London Bridge on Saturday afternoon was an appeal in itself to the officials of the company to move in the matter.”

The winning goal was scored 20 minutes into the first half, Tim Coleman chasing down the ball before shooting. The Villa keeper, George, came out but as the ball hit him it fell to William Henry Gooing who rolled it into an empty net.

Arsenal went on to finish their first season in the top flight in 10th place, 15 points behind League title winners, Newcastle. Villa finished fourth and there was no sign of Spurs, Chelsea, or Manchester United.

1904-1905 First Division League table via Wikipedia
1904-1905 First Division League table via Wikipedia

Arsenal have remained in the top flight ever since.

vs Aston Villa
Games won: 83
Games drawn: 45
Games lost: 68
Date Match Result Score Competition
08 Oct 1904 Woolwich Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 1-0 League Division One
26 Dec 1904 Aston Villa vs Woolwich Arsenal L 3-1 League Division One
27 Dec 1905 Aston Villa vs Woolwich Arsenal L 2-1 League Division One
13 Apr 1906 Woolwich Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-1 League Division One
29 Sep 1906 Aston Villa vs Woolwich Arsenal D 2-2 League Division One
01 Apr 1907 Woolwich Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-1 League Division One
12 Oct 1907 Aston Villa vs Woolwich Arsenal W 0-1 League Division One
08 Feb 1908 Woolwich Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 0-1 League Division One
07 Novs 1908 Woolwich Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 0-1 League Division One
13 Mar 1909 Aston Villa vs Woolwich Arsenal L 2-1 League Division One
01 Sep 1909 Aston Villa vs Woolwich Arsenal L 5-1 League Division One
11 Apr 1910 Woolwich Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 1-0 League Division One
17 Sep 1910 Aston Villa vs Woolwich Arsenal L 3-0 League Division One
15 Mar 1911 Woolwich Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 1-1 League Division One
09 Sep 1911 Aston Villa vs Woolwich Arsenal L 4-1 League Division One
06 Jan 1912 Woolwich Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 2-2 League Division One
16 Sep 1912 Woolwich Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 0-3 League Division One
24 Mar 1913 Aston Villa vs Woolwich Arsenal L 4-1 League Division One
24 Jan 1920 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 0-1 League Division One
11 Feb 1920 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 2-1 League Division One
28 Aug 1920 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 5-0 League Division One
04 Sep 1920 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 0-1 League Division One
18 Mar 1922 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 2-0 League Division One
25 Mar 1922 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-0 League Division One
31 Mar 1923 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-0 League Division One
07 Apr 1923 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 1-1 League Division One
16 Feb 1924 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 0-1 League Division One
12 Mar 1924 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 2-1 League Division One
18 Oct 1924 Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 1-1 League Division One
01 Apr 1925 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 4-0 League Division One
20 Feb 1926 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 1-1 FA Cup
24 Feb 1926 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-0 FA Cup
02 Apr 1926 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 3-0 League Division One
05 Apr 1926 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-0 League Division One
15 Apr 1927 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-1 League Division One
18 Apr 1927 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 2-3 League Division One
10 Sep 1927 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 2-2 League Division One
21 Jan 1928 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 0-3 League Division One
18 Feb 1928 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 4-1 FA Cup
24 Novs 1928 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 2-5 League Division One
02 Mar 1929 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 1-0 FA Cup
06 Apr 1929 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 4-2 League Division One
25 Sep 1929 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 5-2 League Division One
03 May 1930 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 2-4 League Division One
08 Novs 1930 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 5-2 League Division One
10 Jan 1931 Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 2-2 FA Cup
14 Jan 1931 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 1-3 FA Cup
14 Mar 1931 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 5-1 League Division One
31 Oct 1931 Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 1-1 League Division One
25 Apr 1932 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 1-1 League Division One
19 Novs 1932 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 5-3 League Division One
01 Apr 1933 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 5-0 League Division One
28 Oct 1933 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 2-3 League Division One
Sat 03 Mar Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 1-2 FA Cup
Sat 10 Mar Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-2 League Division One
17 Novs 1934 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 1-2 League Division One
30 Mar 1935 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 1-3 League Division One
Sat 14 Dec Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 1-7 League Division One
18 Apr 1936 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 1-0 League Division One
24 Sep 1938 Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 0-0 League Division One
28 Jan 1939 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 1-3 League Division One
14 Sep 1946 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 0-2 League Division One
Sat 18 Jan Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 0-2 League Division One
11 Oct 1947 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 1-0 League Division One
Sat 28 Feb Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 4-2 League Division One
11 Sep 1948 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-1 League Division One
Sat 22 Jan Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 1-0 League Division One
26 Novs 1949 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 1-1 League Division One
Wed 29 Mar Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 1-3 League Division One
21 Oct 1950 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 1-1 League Division One
Sat 10 Mar Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-1 League Division One
08 Sep 1951 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 1-0 League Division One
Sat 5 Jan Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-1 League Division One
23 Aug 1952 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 1-2 League Division One
Sat 20 Dec Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-1 League Division One
29 Aug 1953 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 2-1 League Division One
Sat 9 Jan Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 5-1 FA Cup
06 Apr 1954 Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 1-1 League Division One
Sat 23 Oct Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 2-1 League Division One
12 Mar 1955 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-0 League Division One
Sat 1 Oct Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 1-0 League Division One
28 Jan 1956 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 4-1 FA Cup
Sat 11 Feb Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 1-1 League Division One
03 Novs 1956 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-1 League Division One
Sat 16 Mar Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 0-0 League Division One
02 Oct 1957 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 4-0 League Division One
26 Dec 1957 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 3-0 League Division One
22 Oct 1958 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 1-2 League Division One
Sat 13 Dec Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 1-2 League Division One
15 Oct 1960 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-1 League Division One
Sat 4 Mar Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 2-2 League Division One
11 Novs 1961 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 3-1 League Division One
31 Mar 1962 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 4-5 League Division One
04 Sep 1962 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 1-2 League Division One
10 Sep 1962 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 3-1 League Division One
10 Sep 1963 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-0 League Division One
Sat 19 Oct Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 2-1 League Division One
29 Aug 1964 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-1 League Division One
Sat 19 Dec Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 3-1 League Division One
04 Dec 1965 Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 3-3 League Division One
Sat 30 Apr Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 3-0 League Division One
Sat 27 Aug Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 1-0 League Division One
31 Dec 1966 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 0-1 League Division One
Sat 26 Jan Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 1-1 FA Cup
30 Jan 1974 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 2-0 FA Cup
13 Sep 1975 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 2-0 League Division One
10 Jan 1976 Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 0-0 League Division One
Wed 20 Oct Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 5-1 League Division One
25 Apr 1977 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-0 League Division One
10 Sep 1977 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 1-0 League Division One
04 Feb 1978 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 0-1 League Division One
07 Oct 1978 Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 1-1 League Division One
25 Apr 1979 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 5-1 League Division One
22 Sep 1979 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 0-0 League Division One
09 Feb 1980 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-1 League Division One
Sat 29 Nov Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 1-1 League Division One
02 May 1981 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-0 League Division One
Sat 7 Nov Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 0-2 League Division One
27 Mar 1982 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 4-3 League Division One
Tue 7 Dec Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-1 League Division One
12 Mar 1983 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-0 FA Cup
Sat 14 May Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 2-1 League Division One
29 Oct 1983 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 2-6 League Division One
Sat 18 Feb Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 1-1 League Division One
10 Novs 1984 Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 1-1 League Division One
Wed 13 Mar Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 0-0 League Division One
05 Oct 1985 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-2 League Division One
22 Jan 1986 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 1-1 League Cup
04 Feb 1986 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 1-2 League Cup
Sat 08 Mar Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 1-4 League Division One
29 Novs 1986 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 0-4 League Division One
02 May 1987 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-1 League Division One
03 Sep 1988 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 2-3 League Division One
Sat 31 Dec Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 0-3 League Division One
30 Dec 1989 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 2-1 League Division One
11 Apr 1990 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 0-1 League Division One
23 Dec 1990 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 0-0 League Division One
Wed 3 Apr Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 5-0 League Division One
24 Aug 1991 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 3-1 League Division One
Sat 11 Jan Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 0-0 League Division One
28 Dec 1992 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 1-0 Premier League
Mon 12 Apr Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 0-1 Premier League
06 Novs 1993 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 1-2 Premier League
30 Novs 1993 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 0-1 League Cup
23 Apr 1994 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 1-2 Premier League
26 Dec 1994 Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 0-0 Premier League
17 Apr 1995 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 0-4 Premier League
Sat 21 Oct Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-0 Premier League
02 Dec 1995 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 1-1 Premier League
Wed 14 Feb Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 2-2 League Cup
21 Feb 1996 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 0-0 League Cup
07 Sep 1996 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 2-2 Premier League
28 Dec 1996 Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 2-2 Premier League
Sun 26 Oct Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 0-0 Premier League
10 May 1998 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 1-0 Premier League
Sun 13 Dec Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 3-2 Premier League
16 May 1999 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 1-0 Premier League
11 Sep 1999 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-1 Premier League
05 Mar 2000 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 1-1 Premier League
Sat 14 Oct Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 1-0 Premier League
18 Mar 2001 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 0-0 Premier League
Sun 9 Dec Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-2 Premier League
17 Mar 2002 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 1-2 Premier League
Sat 30 Nov Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-1 Premier League
05 Apr 2003 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 1-1 Premier League
27 Aug 2003 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-0 Premier League
18 Jan 2004 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 0-2 Premier League
Sat 16 Oct Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-1 Premier League
05 Feb 2005 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 1-3 Premier League
Sat 31 Dec Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 0-0 Premier League
01 Apr 2006 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 5-0 Premier League
19 Aug 2006 Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 1-1 Premier League
14 Mar 2007 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 0-1 Premier League
Sat 1 Dec Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 1-2 Premier League
01 Mar 2008 Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 1-1 Premier League
15 Novs 2008 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 0-2 Premier League
26 Dec 2008 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 2-2 Premier League
27 Dec 2009 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-0 Premier League
27 Jan 2010 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 0-0 Premier League
27 Novs 2010 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 2-4 Premier League
15 May 2011 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 1-2 Premier League
21 Dec 2011 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 1-2 Premier League
29 Jan 2012 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-2 FA Cup
24 Mar 2012 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-0 Premier League
24 Novs 2012 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 0-0 Premier League
23 Feb 2013 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-1 Premier League
17 Aug 2013 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 1-3 Premier League
13 Jan 2014 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 1-2 Premier League
20 Sep 2014 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 0-3 Premier League
01 Feb 2015 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 5-0 Premier League
30 May 2015 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 4-0 FA Cup
13 Dec 2015 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 0-2 Premier League
15 May 2016 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 4-0 Premier League
22 Sep 2019 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-2 Premier League
21 Jul 2020 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 1-0 Premier League
08 Novs 2020 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 0-3 Premier League
06 FEB 2021 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 0-1 Premier League