Arsenal legend Ian Wright believes his former side lacked the right attitude and the necessary creativity to break Aston Villa down as they were torn apart by Dean Smith’s side in their Premier League fixture at Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners lost 3-0 after a Bukayo Saka own goal and Ollie Watkins’ brace but it could have much worse for Mikel Arteta’s side as John McGinn had what appeared a perfectly good opener chalked off by VAR.
The level of defeat and depth of performance heading in the international break has been something of a reality check for an Arsenal side who had a growing sense of progress and optimism surrounding them.
Arteta had appeared to make them a more reliable defensive side and in Thomas Partey and a reinvigorated Mohamed Elneny a central midfield unit for which to build the rest of his side around.
But those foundations were ripped apart by Villa’s clever passing, energy and overall commitment while Arsenal were also worryingly ineffective in attack, the polar opposite of their visitors.
What was perhaps most troubling was that fatigue could not be labelled as a reason for the capitulation with nine of Sunday’s starting XI – which was the same team which took to the field against Manchester United – rested against Molde in the Europa League.
“Mikel is going to want the players he wants to come in to implement what he wants but at the same time, the effort and output, from a team that was rested, was nowhere near good enough,” Wright said on Match of the Day 2.
“A Villa team that is coming there and you know they’re going to press you, you need to press your game upon them.
“There is a lacking of a central midfielder which can create and that’s what he needs. But at the same time, you can’t go into a game with that type of attitude and expect to win it.”
Alexandre Lacazette was guilty of missing a fine first-half chance for the hosts and…