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Arsenal 0-3 Aston Villa: Sham, pain football

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It’s very difficult to start today’s blog with a positive after a dismal 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa, but let’s give it a go. If Mikel Arteta’s rationale for not changing the team after the win over Man Utd was predicated on the players having earned their places, then after what we saw last night there will have to be changes because there were some bad individual performances in a miserable collective one.

Home defeats to Leicester and Villa so far this season shine the spotlight on what is emerging as a significant problem for the new manager. His record in big games against so-called big opposition is good, but when we play these teams we really struggle. Make no mistake, Villa were the better side on the night, and thoroughly deserving of their win and three three points, but as good as they were, we matched them with awfulness.

I don’t suppose it helped that we lost Thomas Partey at half-time, and the fact he picked up a thigh injury early in the first half meant he was probably hindered throughout that opening period. However, our troubles go much deeper than one man in midfield, and even so he was probably our best…