Arsenal player ratings vs Aston Villa: Gunners suffer Europa League blow in tepid loss

Arsenal player ratings vs Aston Villa: Gunners suffer Europa League blow in tepid loss

Arsenal‘s hopes of Europa League qualification now appear reliant on winning the FA Cup after they suffered defeat away at Aston Villa, producing an underwhelming performance at Villa Park as the hosts clinched a massive three points in their hopes of avoiding Premier League relegation. The Gunners were well below the level they produced in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final triumph over Manchester City.

Missing the direction of Granit Xhaka, Arsenal were unable to make much ground in the first half and rarely threatened the Premier League’s second-worst defence.

And they fell behind when Egypt winger Trezeguet fired beyond Emiliano Martinez at a corner kick, with Arsenal unable to trouble the Villans at the other end.

Unsurprisingly Xhaka came off the bench at the break and gave Arsenal greater control as they upped their intensity and saw the bulk of possession.

Villa held strong, however, with Arsenal unable to ask many questions of Pepe Reina in the hosts’ goal and ultimately suffered a 1-0 loss without mustering a single shot on target.

Defeat leaves Arsenal sat in 10th, five points behind seventh-placed Tottenham and a point behind Sheffield United and Burnley in eighth and ninth.

Victory for the relegation-threatened hosts, meanwhile, gives them control of their own destiny on the final day of the season. They have a superior goal difference to 18th-placed Watford, with both teams on 34 points. 

Express Sport rates and slates Arsenal’s performance as they suffered a 10th top-flight defeat of the campaign.

Arsenal player ratings vs Aston Villa – Premier League

Emiliano Martinez – 6

Could do nothing about Trezeguet’s strike and later in the first half made a simple save to gather a headed attempt from the goalscorer, which turned out to be the only other stop he really had to make. Fortunate Keinan Davies pulled a shot wide with 15 minutes to go when he left the far corner wide open with poor positioning. Better a few minutes later when he pushed a John McGinn effort away.

Rob Holding – 6

Strong in the air, as usual, and always in the right positions for set pieces and crosses to hook clear. Guilty of one mix-up that almost forced Martinez into action, though the eventual Villa shot was deflected wide. Too easily beaten by Davis in a counter-attack, only for the striker to fire wide.

David Luiz – 5

Frequently stepped forward in possession as he looked to push his team upfield but an inferior display defensively compared to his showing at Wembley at the weekend. Brought off for Nicolas Pepe.

Sead Kolasinac – 5

The only Arsenal player to complete a first-half take on and posed a threat when he burst forward early in the second half to link up with Ceballos, but struggled defensively. A surprise he lasted the full 90 minutes.

Cedric Soares – 5

Could’ve done better to block Villa’s opening goal and stood too far off Jack Grealish before the Villa captain struck a long-range effort just wide. Looked to offer more width after Nicolas Pepe’s introduction.

Dani Ceballos – 6

One of Arsenal’s better performers but still below the level he’s capable of. Some instances of lovely close control and looked to drive forward but was missing support. Skied one into the stands after a free-kick was rolled to the edge of the box. Some poor corner-kick deliveries and moved into an unusual right-back role late on.

Lucas Torreira – 5

Ineffective on the ball, Torreira was also unusually poor off it. Booked and then hooked at half time, probably partly as a precaution.

Bukayo Saka – 5

Unable to get forward too often from a left wing-back role but worked hard defensively and blocked numerous crosses. Shanked a shot over the bar in one rare instance he managed to managed to get forward. Substituted off on the hour.

Eddie Nketiah – 4

Offered pretty little throughout, bar one first-half run which earned a corner, but then denied a goal by a matter of inches as his cross came back off the post and bounced back fortuitously for Reina to grab. Will feel he should have scored.

Alexandre Lacazette – 4

Starting wide right was barely involved in the first half. Tried to act as more of a playmaker in the second half but struggled to make any meaningful attacking contributions. Booked.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 5

Some threatening deliveries from out wide but unable to get himself into areas for goalscoring opportunities himself. Guilty of losing his man Tyrone Mings, who flicked the ball on, before Trezeguet’s strike. Saw a second-half effort on the turn blocked by Ezri Konsa and then should’ve looked to find the open Nketiah after Tierney put him into space down the left but looked for Lacazette instead.

Substitutes

Granit Xhaka (on for Torreira, min 45) – 6

Gave Arsenal greater control in the middle, helping the visitors to keep possession for longer periods.

Nicolas Pepe (on for Luiz, min 60) – 6

Lively after his introduction and got on the ball plenty but unable to open up Villa.

Kieran Tierney (on for Saka, min 60) – 6

Beautiful long ball soon after coming on set Aubameyang racing away on a promising attack and offered more than Saka going forward.

Joe Willock (on for Cedric, min 79) – N/A

Didn’t see much of the ball.

Published at Tue, 21 Jul 2020 21:08:00 +0000