First to the game. The Gunners started brightly and took the lead in the 6th minute through Giroud after some quick ball movement up the left side of the field. Things quickly deteriorated. Gibbs - with blood streaming down his face - went off injured, meaning Sagna was shifted to left back. On came Jenks and the jury is still out on his abilities. A dreadful mistake in midfield (not sure who - but it was not Arteta) allowed Gabby Agbonlahor gallop through the middle and Chesney was left to haul him down for a penno. Note the ref played advantage but when Villa missed the chance, he blew for the foul... Chesney was lucky only to see yellow... And there our luck ended.
Chseney saved the penalty but Benteke scored on the rebound. Then the Ox who was lively, went off injured at half time. Cazorla came on but was not his usual self. Walcott was piss-poor. The Wilshere-Ramsey partnership did not click. Neither provide adequate protection for the back four.
The ref then gave an incredibly soft penalty - Koscielny got the ball first - and Benteke scored for his second. More misery when Kos was later sent off for what seemed to be some acting by a Villa player. With ten men we pushed forward for an equalizer but only succeeded in giving up a third goal in the 85th minute. The scariest moment was yet to come - the sight of Sagna being flipped when trying to win a header and coming crashing down to the grass literally landing on his head. How his neck was not broken, I do not know.
The Ensuing Debacle
Injuries left and right, suspensions (surely Kos's red card will be appealed?) and an already fragile and thin squad is looking very weak indeed. The cupboards are bare: the reserves have been annihilated in their pre-season games, there is nothing at the youth level. Worse still, Wenger sent our only viable defensive midfielder and centerback out on loan (Coquelin and Miquel). Unbelievable. What goes through his head these days defies logic.
Wenger and Gazidis between them have conspired to totally bollix up the first team. All summer they have dithered and dilly-dallied and done SFA to improve the team. A blind man could see where the gaps are. No depth, weaknesses at key positions and no strategy (other than moan) to fix the issues. The ownership does not seem to care. The fans need to revolt by not going to the games until the product and the field improves.
And it could get worse: Fenerbache could very easily dump this lot out of the Champions League.
I have been a fan for too long to think this a new low. Some of the teams fielded in the early 1980's were dire (remember the John Hawley and Ray Hankin experiment?). But to see how far we have fallen since the Invincibles of 2003-04 is tough to swallow.
Gazidis needs to stop palavering about how much money the club has. Go quietly about your business - all that matters are results on the field. It is a joke to see how little Fab and RvP were sold for and the money that is being mentioned for Bale and Suarez. Very poor business acumen.
Everyone is accountable: the ownership, the manager, the coaches, the players, the scouts, the youth system. The fans are being short-changed, big-time. A sad day and one that has been all too common in the past several years. This club needs a serious overhaul and a new regime. I hope it does not get worse but I would not be surprised if it did.
The once proud cannon is in serious disrepair.