Last year, we began a tradition of Media Day here at 7500 to Holte. The idea is that on the Monday after a match we'll be giving you photos and gifs of the match that was, so you can get caught up with everything that happened over the weekend. The gifs will go up after our Monday edition of Setting the Table, and the pictures will go up just a bit later. So make sure to bookmark us for all of your post-match joy or grief. Now, on to the goals!
It only took 6 minutes on Saturday for Aston Villa's defense to show us why everyone is so worried about it. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made a fantastic run up the left side, and that wasn't the problem. No, the problem was Olivier Giroud, who had snuck through the Aston Villa defense entirely unmarked and was able to volley in a nice cross.
It was a well-struck goal, but Giroud should have never been in a position to score it. Hopefully this problem starts disappearing a bit when Jores Okore enters the lineup, but boy is the defense worrisome.
At this point, Arsenal were dominating a wide-open affair. But, fewer than 20 minutes later, Aston Villa would take back the goal they'd given up courtesy of a poor tackle from keeper Wojciech Szczesny:
Arsenal were lucky that the call was merely a penalty and not the straight red that Consonants probably deserved. Christian Benteke would step to the spot for his first penalty of the season, and shockingly saw it parried by Szczesny. Luckily the rebound favored the Belgian and he was able to follow-up for his first goal of the season:
The teams went into the half tied, but despite a lack of possession, Villa had clearly settled. In the 60th minute, on yet another counter attack, Gabby Agbonlahor was again taken down, this time by Laurent Koscielny. At first, the penalty that ensued seemed inexplicable, but upon a closer look, it's apparent that Koscielny hit Gabby before he got to the ball, a clear penalty:
And this time, Christian Benteke didn't need a second chance as he buried the penalty for his second goal of the season:
From there, the match was largely out of hand. When Koscielny was sent off in the 67th minute Arsenal seemed lost. They had a few good opportunities, but couldn't capitalize and Antonio Luna was able to make a long run off of a poor Arsenal corner to score a goal in his Aston Villa debut:
Luna was fed the ball by Andreas Weimann, who had an otherwise unremarkable game. Here's the run from another angle:
Hopefully we'll see more of this in Wednesday's match against Chelsea. We know Villa have the firepower needed to score a couple of goals each match, and it was great to see that in action on Saturday.
Check back later for the photo gallery of the match.