EletiofeAston Villa v Arsenal: Premier League – live!

Aston Villa v Arsenal: Premier League – live!

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24 min: “Do you or anyone else know the going rate for message planes?” demands-to-know Joshua Reynolds. “Is it in the hundreds or the thousands? What are people investing in these messages?” I’ve just done a quick google search and found one company offering the service from as little as £375. A quick search through my own mind reveals at least 83 things I’d soon spend my money on.

22 min: Elmohamady, by the way, has looked fine since deciding he’d try to run off his hamstring knack. But he’s not been seen in a useful crossing position since then, as Villa have been mostly kettled into their own half.

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21 min: Arsenal win their third corner in quick succession. Douglas Luiz clears it. Then Villa try to launch a counter-attack but it piddles out almost immediately.

19 min: Soares runs on to a long diagonal pass from David Luiz, then attempts a cross that is turned behind for a corner by Targett. Targett then heads the setpiece away at the near post.

16 min: Saka curls in a low cross from the left. Konsa boots it into touch. Arsenal come again. There’s a whiff of passivity about Villa, as they’re not doing a hell of a lot to win the ball back.

15 min: The pace of this game has dropped a lot since the bubbly start. The onus is on Villa to make something happen but they’re being patient about it.

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13 min: Saka skitters towards the box and then ping a pass to Aubameyang. But it was too hard and the striker couldn’t get it under control. A defender wellies clear.

11 min: Elmohamady has gone down with sore hamstring. He looks unlikely to continue. Dean Smith will no doubt be ruing the cryotherapy ban again. Frédéric Guilbet is warming up.

9 min: There’s a loud buzzing sound and the cameras aren’t showing whats causing it. But Nick Ames has the answer:

Nick Ames
(@NickAmes82)

A plane trailing a banner reading: “Back Arteta, Kroenke out” is circling Villa Park.

July 21, 2020

Plane flying over Villa Park

Photograph: Peter Powell/Reuters

Reading 'Back Arteta, Kroenke Out'

Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Reuters

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7 min: Kolasinac clears a cross from the right by Grealish, but only as far as Elmohamady, who swings it back into the centre. McGinn rises to meet it near the penalty spot but bops it over by a couple of yards.

6 min: McGinn tries to hold off Kolasinac and get in a cross, but Kolasinac is too strong for him. The defender steps in to clear the danger.

4 min: Reina boots the ball straight into touch when trying to pick out a teammate. That’s the second time already.

2 min: It’s been a bright open start, with both quick to attack as soon as they gain possession. Neither has managed to work a shot yet though.

1 min: Villa v Arsenal is go!

Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang takes a knee in support of Black Lives Matter.

Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang takes a knee in support of Black Lives Matter. Photograph: 2020 Pool

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“All Arsenal fans will be hugely buoyed by the team’s performances against Liverpool and Man City,” toots Charles Antaki. ‘And, by the same token all Arsenal fans will be now resigned to the fact that it can’t last, it won’t last and by the end of the evening it’s likely not to have lasted. Unless it does last. But thinking that means that it won’t. Probably.”

Arsenal are first on to the pitch, with red tracksuit tops disguising their yellow away shirts. Next come the hosts, in their traditional colours.

“Of the three remaining teams struggling to stay up who among them is best positioned to not be in this same pickle next season?” asks Mary Waltz. Villa. They were always in a race against time this season given how many changes they had to make; but they’ve improved as they’ve gone and, if they stay up, players such as Douglas Luiz and Trezeguet will be real forces next season. Plus, Dean Smith has already said that if they do stay up, the clubs billionaire owners will sanction another splurge to reinforce where required.

Mikel Arteta makes six changes to the side that started the FA Cup humbling of Manchester City. Dean Smith sticks with the same side that should have beaten Everton last time out, but didn’t. In other words, here are the teams:

Aston Villa: Reina; Elmohamady, Konsa, Mings, Targett; McGinn, Luiz, Hourihane; Trezeguet, Samatta, Grealish

Subs: Nyland, Guilbert, Hause, Nakamba, Lansbury, Jota, Lansbury, Davis, Vassilev

Arsenal: Martinez; Holding, David Luiz, Kolasinac; Soares, Ceballos, Torreira, Saka; Nkettiah, LAcazette, Aubammeyang

Subs: Macey, Bellerin, Tierney, SOkratis, Matiland-Niles, Willock, Smith, Xhaka, Pepe

Preamble

Hello. Manchester City have done Aston Villa a favour by dispatching

Javi Gracia’s Quique Sanchez Flores’ Nigel Pearson’s
Hayden Mullins’ Watford but at some point Aston Villa are going to have to start helping themselves. Now would be ideal. A win would lift them out of the relegation zone on goal difference. So Villa need a Gay Cavalier. Can Ali Samatta, Keinan Davis or someone else summon the spirit of Pongo Waring and fire Villa to safety? That’s what we’re here to find out. Dean Smith’s men have been more solid defensively since the restart so an escape from the bottom three is not unthinkable. But they need to starting taking more chances. The problem for them today is they’re up against the Premier League’s most in-form team, an Arsenal side who have suddenly pulled themselves together and toppled Liverpool and Manchester City, no less. Without further ado, let’s get it on.

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