“The press was almost non-existent,” writes Jonathan Liew. “The front three were abject. Willian appeared to have been switched shortly before kick-off for a different Willian, similar in appearance but with shins for feet and a basic incomprehension of time. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looked like a man running with eggs in his pockets.
“This is on Mikel Arteta as much as anyone, not least because his substitutions only seemed to make things worse.
“For Arsenal’s rookie manager, this game may constitute a long-awaited reckoning: clutch wins and early silverware may have reinforced the impression of a team in chrysalis, building from strong foundations and perhaps to be forgiven for the odd rough night. But as they slip back into the bottom half of the table, you sense the time for excuses is over.”
“In this strange season of unpredictability, no-one is doing inconsistency quite like Arsenal,” John Cross said in his report.
“Brilliant at Manchester United last week, hopeless and torn apart by Aston Villa this week. And there can be no excuse for such a lame surrender at the Emirates.
“Villa were magnificent as Ollie Watkins scored twice, Jack Grealish and Ross Barkley were outstanding and Arsenal just could not live with them.
“There should be an inquest after this and Mikel Arteta now faces difficult questions especially why some of his biggest stars like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Willian are performing so badly.
“But there should be just as much credit to Villa who got back on track with their impressive start to the campaign and another win pushes them up to sixth, five wins out of seven, three points off the top and a game in hand on leaders Leicester.”
“To say Arsenal were poor would be flattering,” Sami Mokbel said. “Shocking in defence, toothless in attack – the…