Our back line had been decimated by numerous injuries, strangely Miguel was another absentee which I have assumed means he must have picked up an injury against City, anyway we had a really makeshift back four with Vermaelen at left back and Coquelin at right back, and the formidable pairing of Mertesacker and Koscielny in the centre. Coquelin moving to right back meant a start for Frimpong in central midfield, with the rest of the team predictable.
It was not a good performance, we never really got going for any sustained period throughout the game, there was the odd moment and our quality up front meant that we always threatened when in forward areas, but we did make hard work of a game that should have been fairly routine work.
Coquelin battled but Z'Zogbia was a bit too much for him at times. Frimpong's naivety and inexperience was far too apparent, he was slack in possession and his defensive positioning left a lot to be desired. This was no surprise though, he has played so few first team games. Ramsey didn't really get into the game either leaving Arteta to battle on manfully without that much support. The front three looked dangerous whenever they had the ball but we couldn't get it to them enough, and the midfield didn't really support them very well.
Credit must go to Villa who showed a lot of courage, it would have been easy to collapse when they went one nil down to our deserved penalty after Theo had been blatantly tugged back in the box, they did not, they battled back and looked the more effective side for long periods, and having equalised they did look the more likely to win the game for a while. N'Zogbia and Albrighton were dangerous all game long.
Having said all that one has to say that there is a hell of a lot more team spirit and fight in Arsenal side than I have seen for a few years, and this must be fairly significant in the way in which we ground out the win in the end. Arshavin forced a corner, RVP whipped it in, it was mat by the Israeli titan otherwise known as Yossi Benayoun, the header was downward and unstoppable. There was still time for that malignant piece of Tottenham excrement Alan Hutton to be sent off for two thuggish and completely unnecessary challenges, hopefully TV5 is fine after the second of these.
Overall a great three points and a vital win, some positive and some negative though, as well as some terrible refereeing that included an awful decision to book RVP for diving for being body checked by Warnock. The fight and team spirit is very encouraging, we are slowly learning to better absorb pressure and defend as a team. The big worry I have is that we are a couple of injuries away from an utter disaster, we need at least one full back to be brought in and we need cover for RVP badly. Still a win's a win, well done you Gunners.