Sunday, October 2, 2022

Three Key Talking Points For Arsenal In Their Defeat To Aston Villa On Sunday

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

Arsenal suffered their fourth defeat of the campaign on Sunday when they were completely outclassed by Aston Villa in a 3-0 loss. The Gunners were the second-best team for the entirety of the game as a brace from Ollie Watkins as well as an own goal from Bukayo Saka helped the Villans secure a comfortable victory at the Emirates.

Here, at The 4th Official, we will take a look at three key takeaways for Arsenal in their defeat to Aston Villa this past weekend.

Gabriel Needs An Experienced Partner

Gabriel Magalhaes has been a bargain for Arsenal this season, having performed well for the majority of the campaign. However, one noticeable element from his game so far is that the Brazilian tends to perform well alongside a more experienced defensive figurehead.

On Sunday, he was entrusted with the job of leading the Arsenal backline and was partnered by Rob Holding and Kieran Tierney. Unsurprisingly, the ex-Lyon centre-back found it difficult to perform, often looking clueless in dealing with Watkins and company.

Therefore, one could argue that Mikel Arteta should have fielded Shkodran Mustafi alongside Gabriel this weekend, although Arsenal did objectively underperform as a defensive unit.

Arteta Continues To Misuse Aubameyang

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was once again deployed as a left-winger against Aston Villa – a move that didn’t pay dividends for multiple reasons.

Three key takeaways for Arsenal in their defeat to Aston Villa - Aubameyang misused.
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 17: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal looks on during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal at Etihad Stadium on October 17, 2020 in Manchester, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

The player himself struggled to take on Matty Cash on a consistent basis, ultimately providing very little penetration going forward. It was combined with a surprising lack of creative support from Bukayo Saka or anyone else on the pitch.

Aubameyang featuring out wide also meant that it was Alexandre Lacazette who found himself on the end of goalscoring opportunities, which is never a good sign. The Frenchman notably missed a header in the first half, with his effort going over the bar.

Auba did play in a more central role during the final phase of the game but it was too little too late as Aston Villa had already taken an unassailable lead.

What’s Next For Thomas Partey?

This was a bad weekend for Thomas Partey, who completely failed to impose his authority in midfield against Aston Villa. It was made worse when he picked up a thigh injury that prompted his substitution at half-time, as he made way for Dani Ceballos.

Arteta, after the game, confirmed that the midfielder did pick up an injury, but failed to provide much details. “I don’t know. As I said, the doctor will have to have a look at him and probably scan him. Then we will decide what to do with him.”, the Spaniard told the media.

Arsenal would ideally hope that Partey can recover from any problem during the international break. But, a potential long-term absence could spell trouble for a side that has lacked any inspiration this season.

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