Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal – Villa take it to the final day with brilliant Arsenal victory.


That last 10 mins was as excruciating as the last 10 mins of the play-off final. I felt sick.

Those 3 points are massive and, unbelievably, it’s now in our own hands.

I never expected to be in this position. On the 11th July I was sunning myself at the beach on the beautiful Cornish coast. I had goal alerts coming through on my phone and as it was confirmed that West Ham and Watford had secured vital wins, the gap to safety widened to 7 points and I resigned myself to playing EFL Championship football next season. I was with my dad that evening and over a few beers we started looking at what away days we might go on and the fact Coventry fans will be frothing at the mouth at the thought of playing us again. We truly thought that was that.

Now, although we might still go down, the fact that it is going to the final day is a miracle, as teams have seemed hell-bent on giving Villa a lifeline, time and time again.

Could We?

Watching the Watford game prior to kick-off was as bad as watching the Villa, nerves-wise. As each goal went in, I let myself dream more and more.

Quickly, attention turned to Villa Park and the nerves intensified. I thought Villa started the game well, containing Arsenal. As the game went on, Villa gained in confidence and found themselves in advanced positions. As expected, Arsenal had the majority of the possession but the Villa defence surprisingly marshalled them well.

A foray into the Arsenal half led to Villa winning a corner. The postman Conor Hourihane delivered a trademark set piece and Trezuguet finished with aplomb. BANG! 1-0!!

Trezeguet finished superbly to give Villa the all important lead (Photo: Sky Sports)

Villa saw the half out well without any real scares but with the quality Arsenal possess you always worried about the threat they carry.  

During half time, I said the first 10 mins of the 2nd half was going to be crucial as Arsenal would come out all guns blazing. Actually, the opposite happened and Villa controlled the restart. I was so impressed with the mindset. We weren’t sitting back as previously seen.

Villa, knocking the ball around superbly, grew in confidence and you could see the Villa players grow in stature. So good to see!

As the half wore on though Arsenal did gain more control of the ball. On a breakaway Jack did superbly, going on one of his trademark runs. He put a perfectly weighted ball through to Davis who was through. As the keeper came out Davis struck the ball and I was off my chair in anticipation, only to see the ball go wide of the post. What a chance!

Thoughts drifted to the El Ghazi’s chance to make it 2-0 against Everton and what proceeded. That couldn’t happen again, surely!

It very nearly did! Nketiah headed against the inside of the post from an Arsenal corner only to see Reina gratefully claim the ball. As the ball headed goalwards my heart literally sank.

Even after this Villa enjoyed possession in the Arsenal half determined they would not allow Arsenal to come on to them. All over the pitch and on the sidelines, it looked like a real team effort. Everyone giving their all for the cause. As a Villa fan, there is no better sight.

Added time was four minutes which seemed an eternity. Arsenal had the ball but never really caused us a scare. Four minutes ticked by and I was screaming for the referee to blow. And so it did, with relief all round and 3 crucial points secured with an outstanding display.

Aston Villa FC you are no good for my health, but I absolutely love you!

So on to Sunday where a win surely sees Villa retain their Premier League status. Let’s prepare ourselves for another roller-coaster of emotions. It’s going to be a big one!  


Adam Wright

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