It's frustrating, but reasons to be hopeful and Arsenal next

It's all in the title and all I'm going to do is expand on this but it isn't me responding to the result last time out. After two minutes of the game against Southampton, I knew what was going to happen. Look at my comments from 12.05pm on the day of the match to see what I mean or my previous two posts.

We lost to Leeds because we allowed Leeds to play the way they wanted to play and we lost to Southampton for the same reason. We didn't impose our approach unless you think our approach is sit back and hit long. And yes, they scored three goals from set pieces and they only had four shots, but I'll argue all day that our approach to the game was why that happened.


Now, the second half against Southampton was different as was the first half against Leeds and that is why we have reasons to be hopeful. We know we can win games too.

And look at the League table now. Southampton are top, but if we won our two games in hand on them, we would be. It's not so bad, but hopefully the manager has learnt that we have to go into every game and try to win. Not let the game settle or let the other side get a grip on the game. For 95 minutes every match, we have to be chasing down every ball, try to keep the ball (not hit long) by making space and passing forward.

I know it's a lot easier to write, but if you watch Southampton play, you can see that they've worked on stuff in training. The same for Leeds. I'm still not 100% sure what we've worked on in training.

Arsenal on Sunday

And we can put it right against Arsenal on Sunday. They are 20% of the way through the season and we're above them with a game in hand. That means something and we have to understand why. The why is because we went in to games wanting to win and because we chased every ball down and we created chances.

We do the same on Sunday and we can win. Sunday is important. This season is a strange one and while finishing better than last season is the target, we can hope for a little more. And it comes down to Dean Smith trusting the players and the players believing. It's possible. Sunday is possible.

Match facts from the BBC

Head-to-head

  • Arsenal have won their last three home league games against Aston Villa by an aggregate score of 12-2.
  • Villa's 1-0 home win against Arsenal in July ended a run of seven straight head-to-head defeats, and 23 goals conceded, in all competitions.
  • Aston Villa can win consecutive league games against Arsenal for the first time since 1998.

Arsenal

  • Arsenal's tally of 12 points matches their total after seven Premier League matches last season.
  • The 1-0 defeat against Leicester City last time out was their first home league loss of 2020.
  • Arsenal have conceded a league-low seven goals this season. However, they have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last six home league games.
  • They can fail to score in successive Premier League home fixtures for the first time since February 2016.
  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could fail to score in four successive league home appearances for the first time since December 2014 for Borussia Dortmund in Bundesliga.

Aston Villa

  • Aston Villa could win three consecutive Premier League away fixtures for the first time since April 2010.
  • Villa can become only the third club in top-flight history to win their opening four matches and lose the next three. Villa did so themselves in 1891-92, followed by Stoke City in 1895-96.
  • They did not record their fifth league win in 2019-20 until their 19th match, on Boxing Day against Norwich City.
  • Villa have lost 12 of their last 13 Premier League away matches versus established top-six opposition (D1).
  • They are the only side yet to concede away from home in the Premier League this season, having been the only club not to keep an away clean sheet last season.
  • Jack Grealish has four goals and four assists in 2019-20. Only Harry Kane (14) and Son Heung-min (10) have been directly involved in more goals prior to the weekend.