We’ve picked out five key talking points from the Aston Villa and Arsenal game that saw Aston Villa throw their lead away twice.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @HazaTrand


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Aston Villa threw a lead away twice against top-four candidates Arsenal at The Emirates Stadium yesterday afternoon and left London no better off in terms of points on the Premier League table than when they arrived.

We’ve picked out five key talking points from the game below.

Poor Game Management

In terms of game narrative, Aston Villa’s 3-2 defeat at the Emirates was similar to the defeat at Spurs.

We take a lead, tire, sit back and proceed to crumble late on. It probably wasn’t in Dean Smiths plan to sit back for the last half hour, but he could’ve avoided this by freshening up the midfield – the area of the pitch where we eventually lost the battle.

John McGinn Jack Grealish and Marvelous Nakamba were understandably flagging and by the time Smith brought on Conor Hourihane and Henri Lansbury it was too late. Villa didn’t need to be so deep against an off-key ten-man Arsenal.

McGinn’s Continued Good Form

It seems John McGinn hardly ever dips below an 8/10 performance.

The Scotsman was quality yet again today and got his rewards for gambling with a late run into the box with the Villa’s opener.

McGinn was adept at dribbling, managed to find the target with four of his six attempts on goal and achieved a pretty exemplary pass accuracy. It’s scary to think where Villa would be without John McGinn this season.

Rare Defensive Errors

Aston Villa’s defence has been outstanding this season if nothing else, and for the most part, Bjorn Engels and Tyrone Mings were solid today.

Unfortunately, moments change games and both members of Villa’s centre back pairing were guilty for an arsenal of lackadaisical moments today.

For the Gunners penalty Engels should know better than coming across and sticking a leg out on an advancing attacker in the box. The Belgian would’ve been much better off shielding Matteo Guendouzi to a stand-in covering Tyrone Mings.

Talking of Mings, the former Bournemouth man shouldn’t have tried to be so delicate with his header in the lead up to Callum Chambers’ equalizer. As is modern football, players are inclined to make every clearance a pass – and in this instance, Mings tried to find Neil Taylor when Chambers was right behind the Welshman. Like most things, though you live and learn, and next time Mings will almost certainly learn to head that ball far, and away, from his own goal.

A Step Too VAR

Villa can’t become ‘that club’ that always complains about referees, but it’s hard not to with some of the injustices the Villans have been on the receiving end of this campaign.

With two minutes of normal time left Conor Hourihanes goal-bound shot was blocked by the right arm of Gunners defender Sokratis. It’s baffling why Johnathan Moss didn’t take the incident to VAR – my only reasons being the possibility that Moss straight up missed the shot or he wanted to give the Gunners some kind of leigh way after sending Ainsley Maitland-Niles off earlier in the game.

Either way, Aston Villa should feel hard done by yet again by men in black.

Next Saturday? Crucial

The term “must-win” isn’t one I’m particularly fond of, but Aston Villa’s next game at Villa Park to Burnley falls into that bracket.

Going into the season most Villa fans would’ve liked to be at least three points better off by now, and if the Villans fail to gain anything from this tie the boo-boys will be back in their droves.

If this means Aston Villa are more agricultural with their play-style, then so be it.

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