It pains me to see us lose again but I sense that a lot of the reaction is going to lack context, perspective and common sense. In my humble opinion the defeat today against Villa was nothing to with a lack of effort, despite what some will say, the game was lost for a complex blend of reasons.
Credit must go to Villa who started excellently and their clinical approach saw us two down before we had even left the blocks. Opponents frequently play five in the midfield against at the Emirates and our 4-3-3 system has simply not worked against this approach. Squillaci was caught sleeping for the first, bent finished superbly. Sagna and Squillaci were both at fault for the second, Bent finished well despite being just offside.
We improved as the half wore on but the sad fact was that our tactical approach had been found sadly wanting again at home. The system gave no defensive support to our full backs, Rvp was also far too isolated up front, the effectiveness of the 4-4-2 in the second half showed this perfectly. Arshavin looks a sad shadow of his former self, a player who no longer looks a threat and who I no longer think is good enough for an Arsenal shirt, just like the hapless and day dreaming Squillaci.
The referee bottled a key decision when Ramsey was hacked down while clean through on goal, Dunne should have walked, instead the young official completely choked it, no red card and no penalty, Dunne was nowhere near the ball despite his stupid and ignorant post match comments.
The second half saw us hammer Villa, reverting to the 4-4-2 eith rvp/chamakh up top helped, as did the later replacement of our ineffective Russian with our young Dane. We had countless chances which came and went, there was some poor finishing and some bad luck, also some top Friedel keeping. There was also time for the useless ref to disallow a perfectly good chamakh goal, while petrov should have walked for a clear second yellow offence.
The chamakh goal may well have seen us get something out if the game, maybe even a win, but it was not to be, sadly. Overall it was another cruel blow, a very harsh defeat. We were punished for some bad defending and a tactical setup that has simply not consistently delivered at home this season.
The manager needs to sit down and go back to drawing board, back to the basics, we're not miles off, but changes are need both in terms of the playing staff and our variation of tactics to deal with different scenarios.
Do not listen do the doom sayers who will rage in in vitriolic terms about mentality and effort. Our failure is far more marginal and complex than this, the baby should not be thrown out with the bath water, a sense if perspective and a pragmatism is required to build again, not demolish everything naively.