Aston Villa Cap off Pivotal Fortnight as Arsenal Keep Being Arsenal

The Good Bad and Ugly of Villa’s Last Fortnight

With the matches coming thick and fast GBU has to wait until there’s something bad to report on, alas it can wait no longer.

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The Good

From the 90th-minute equaliser Ollie Watkins expertly headed in against Bournemouth to the job-done point earned in Bosnia, it’s been a stellar fortnight for Aston Villa fans.

Those two draws were the bread in the sandwich. The filling was something else.

Beating Manchester City and Arsenal in the space of three days isn’t just unheard of, it’s exactly what’s needed for Villa to be at the level they aspire to be.

It’s no good being the plucky losers anymore. You need to get results over the line, by hook or by crook. The two statement wins couldn’t have been more different in reality.

The complete domination of the sovereign wealth assembled Manchester City side was unprecedented. It’s something that just doesn’t happen in the Premier League. Manchester City have been beaten before of course, but never played off the pitch.

Usually, teams score a goal on the break and defend for their lives against wave after wave of attacks. Instead, Villa battered the treble winners, until finally a deflected shot from Leon Bailey, skewered them.

It was what they deserved and three days later, they got more of what they deserved against last season’s second-placed team Arsenal.

This was a different match, as Villa were feeling the efforts of the City game. They knew they had to strike first against the Gunners and then get the result over the line.

John McGinn’s goal, after 10 of the Villa side had contributed was a thing of beauty. A crafted goal that no team would be able to defend against.

The remainder of the game was Beauty and the Beast. Periods of brilliant play and episodes of the worst of modern football.

Despite this, against the odds, Villa got the job done, no longer the plucky loser, but a genuine contender.

Villan of the Week – Leon Bailey

You can’t play like Bailey did against Manchester City and not be Villan of the Week. Bailey was unplayable, from flashes of genius in games to moments of incredible frustration, Villa fans have been through the spectrum of the enigmatic Jamaican.

Not forgetting his assist against Arsenal, the game against City was one of the best performances from a Villa player since Christian Benteke carried the team.

Cruel jokes about replacing Jack Grealish in the aggregate are a thing of the past. Bailey, with confidence, and accepting his rotating role is a weapon that doesn’t look like an expensive panic buy anymore.

40% of Villa Away Shirt below

The Bad

Nothing Villa of course, but how badly did Arsenal fans and Arsenal media take that defeat?

Two-year-olds have a higher tolerance for adversity than the modern Arsenal fan. It was embarrassing, but not surprising given how their manager and team have acted in recent years.

Everyone is against us, it’s the PGMOL punishing Arteta, the wind affected us more than them. Sound familiar. A quick trawl of social media, or in many Villans cases, a week-long viewing session of the Arsenal hashtag with a bucket of popcorn, showed all these reactions and more.

This attitude comes from the top and is part of the modern Arsenal and to a lesser extent, the modern Spurs.

Both fanbases and clubs seem to be on a trajectory, to shake their images of recent years by being fake for want of a better word and manufacturing a new kind of fanbase.

Arsenal under George Graham and peak Arsene Wenger, used to be a tough side. They were nightmares to play against, as they were ruthless, whether they were grinding out a traditional Graham 1-0 win, or playing beautiful football under Wenger.

The fanbase though became spoilt and entitled, they tired of Wenger, as his Arsenal team became frail, and then they hounded out and ridiculed his replacement, Unai Emery, and replaced him with Mikel Arteta. This turned out to be a match made in heaven as his methods and gamesmanship lined up with the new fan attitude and a monster was born.

This new Arsenal still can play good football, but all too often they take the easy option of simulation, dissent to officials, complaining about everything and getting on like spoilt brats wherever anyone will listen to them.

They celebrate beating Luton like they’ve won the World Cup, and high-five each other so much when their goalkeeper catches a ball, I’m surprised they don’t have wrist injuries.

Of course, this technique has bred success, as Arsenal came close to the title last season before bottling it in the run-in. Seeing this success, Spurs look to be heading the same way, judging by their reactions to Villa, and especially Matty Cash’s tackle on Bentancur.

While nobody is a fan of the current Manchester City situation, at least Pep Guardiola was able to take defeat on the chin.

What’s the difference between a hedgehog and the Emirates? The pricks are on the outside of a hedgehog.

The Ugly

Joey Barton… Google him, he used to be a footballer.


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