Aston Villa down to twelfth and defeat is defeat, even if spirited

I've written several times about how happy I would be with a boring 1-0 victory. I'm happy with a boring win because a win is a win. I need to get that out of the way, because it wasn't so boring tonight.

For the first half Stephen Ireland ran like a man possessed. So much so that he pulled up with a calf strain just before the break and was replaced by Barry Bannan - who also ran like a man possessed.

But for most of the match, we sat back and left the running to Ireland and then Bannan. But others ran too. That was the game plan and hands up, that is the way to play against Arsenal - you have to have five men in midfield and you have to stop them passing.

But we couldn't and we lost. We were beaten by a better team, a better manager and a better footballing philosophy.

A special goal

But we did score a special goal. Not special because we broke Arsenal down and made them look like a pub side - the goal was a gift - but it was the 20,000th in the Premier League and Marc Albrighton saw his opportunity, took it and put it away.

It was also really nice to see Albrighton and Clark play together and Barry Bannan for most of the match. You all know I'm a big fan of the younger players and not just because they are family - because they do have the ability too and they proved it tonight.

But we were beaten. We were beaten not because there wasn't effort, but because of two mistakes. Clark made the first to give away a penalty, but he was instantly forgiven and so he should be - he will learn from that and will be a better player for it. He can not and should not be blamed or held responsible.

Just like Gabby shouldn't be blamed for the second goal with a few minutes to go, for not getting his head on the ball. It wasn't as if he didn't try.

At the end of day

There will be supporters that think we have turned the corner after one performance. We haven't. All that happened was we worked 5% harder, but the end result was the same. You could argue that we worked 20% harder ... but the end result is the same.

Alex McLeish had good performances last season too - he wasn't awful throughout - but he still took his side down. He had good performances in his first season too, but he still took them down that one also.

At the end of the day - it was a spirited performance, but nothing more than that and it should be noted that it was an under strength Arsenal side with quite a few defenders missing.

Nothing has changed. Defeat is defeat, much like a boring one nil win is still a win. We are down to 12th now and that is worrying.