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Aston Villa player ratings as Trezeguet, Grealish and Co slip to dramatic Arsenal defeat


It was a three-minute horror show which cost Aston Villa dearly against 10-man Arsenal at the Emirates.

Villa were brilliant in the first half and led through John McGinn, the Scot scoring his second in north London to add to the one scored at Spurs.

Arsenal, who had Ainsley Maitland-Niles sent off after 41, then battled back and equalised through a Pepe spot-kick after Jon Moss deemed Bjorn Engels to have bundled Matteo Guendouzi over inside the box. The Ivorian made no mistake but, just 60 seconds later, Wesley poked Villa back in front thanks to an assist by Jack Grealish.

The match, though, was turned on its head as Tyrone Mings’s mistake let Arsenal back in, Callum Chambers pouncing to lift the ball over Heaton with nine minutes on the clock. With the home crowd rampant, Engels then tripped Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang before the star striker fired in his sixth goal of the season to send a curling free-kick into the far corner past a stranded Heaton.

That was game over there and then – and here’s how Our Man at Villa, Ashley Preece, rated the players.

HEATON 6

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Tom Heaton of Aston Villa throws the ball

Was booed by the home fans throughout for supposedly time-wasting. Was fortunate when Guendouzi’s effort hit the post and then his back before the ball went for a corner. Flapped at one late one but Mings came to the rescue to block Aubameyang. Was his usual commanding self, though. Brilliantly palming David Luiz’s free-kick over the bar to keep Arsenal out. Didn’t have a chance with any of Arsenal‘s goals.

GUILBERT 6.5

Kept Gunners wonder kid Bukayo Saka at bay throughout, the youngster being replaced at the break. The Frenchman was quiet and covered his teammates when needed.

ENGELS 6

Enjoyed an assured first half before Moss blew for an apparent foul on Guendouzi as Pepe scored the penalty to bring Arsenal back into the game. The Belgian then fouled Aubameyang, resulting in the lively striker firing a free-kick past Heaton. Wasn’t helped by the midfield in front of him as 10-man Arsenal over-powered Villa in the last half-hour.

MINGS 5.5

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal battles for possession with Tyrone Mings of Aston Villa

It was so un-Mings-like, his error dragging Arsenal back into it after wrongly choosing to head to Neil Taylor inside the six-yard box before Chambers’ eyes lit up. It was a mistake which turned the game on its head and allowed Arsenal – and the home crowd – to get their tails up. He was brilliant before that, though.

TAYLOR 5.5

Was targeted time and time again by Arsenal who peppered him with long balls up to Pepe. Was fouled which resulted in Maitland-Niles being sent off. Struggled as Arsenal piled it on late on, such was the Gunners pressing for a winner which they evidently got.

 

NAKAMBA 5

Was fine in the first period anchoring the midfield but couldn’t cope in the second half as Guendouzi stepped it up amidst a barrage of pressure. May have found speed and strength of Arsenal too much – didn’t take sting out of Arsenal as they broke forward. In the end, it was tough going.

GREALISH 7

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Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish (left) and Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka

Floated in the middle, worked hard getting back and gorgeously plucked one out of the air as he tantalised Arsenal‘s midfield, such was his brilliant assist to set up Wesley, taking on three players before finding the Brazilian. As predicted, Granit Xhaka lost his head with him and was booked for dragging Grealish to the floor in the first half. In the second half, though, he found it hard as the Gunners stepped it up a notch. Was Villa’s main threat.

MCGINN 6.5

The Scot did it in north London again, firing a cool finish past Bernd Leno to open the scoring after 19 minutes. It was a brilliant, ghosting run past Guendouzi which did it, gambling on the ball finding him – and it did. Worked hard in true McGinn fashion but the game slipped away, Villa’s midfield completely overran by the likes of Guendouzi and sub Torreira, the latter providing so much energy when he came on.

EL GHAZI 6.5

Provided the all-important assist after cutting back before finding McGinn for the opener. Looked much better in the first half after disappointing Hammers display, got at Maitland-Niles before Arsenal man was sent off. Faded badly in the second half.

WESLEY 6

Scored his second in claret and blue and loved the moment, standing with his arms aloft in front of the Villa faithful. Took his goal well but Villa will be asking more of him, looked a bit timid at times up against Sokratis and David Luiz. I just want to see a bit more.

TREZEGUET 7*

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Dani Ceballos of Arsenal battles for possession with Trezeguet of Aston Villa

Ran his nuts off and was a live wire in the first half, hugging the touchline before coming in while grafting back to put Arsenal under pressure and, in turn, helping to win the ball back. Sead Kolasinac couldn’t get near him, such was the Egyptian squeezing past both the Arsenal full-back and Ceballos in the first half before teeing up McGinn who shot on target. Provided energy and graft to Villa before being replaced by countryman Elmohamady. The sub affected Villa, they lost their energy without Trezeguet – a man who was causing Arsenal problems.

 

SUBS

ELMOHAMADY 5

Came on to shore things up but it didn’t work. Couldn’t mirror Trezeguet’s work ethic and was largely a passenger as Arsenal piled it on. The sub went against Villa, in truth.

LANSBURY 5

Not enough time to warrant a verdict. Will play at Brighton.

HOURIHANE 5

Not enough time to warrant a verdict. Like Lansbury, will play at Brighton in the week.

VILLA (4-1-4-1): Heaton; Guilbert, Engels, Mings, Taylor; Nakamba (Hourihane, 85); El Ghazi (Lansbury, 88), Grealish, McGinn, Trezeguet (Elmohamady, 68); Wesley.

Subs: Steer, Konsa, Elmohamady, Lansbury, Hourihane, Jota, Davis.

ARSENAL (4-3-3): Leno; Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, David Luiz, Kolasinac; Ceballos (Torreira, 71), Xhaka (Willock, 71), Guendouzi; Pepe, Aubameyang, Saka (Chambers, HT).

Subs: Martinez, Chambers, Torreira, Willock, Nelson, Ozil, Martinelli.

REF: Jon Moss

BOOKED: Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Aubameyang

SENT OFF: Maitland-Niles

GOALS: McGinn (19), Pepe (59, pen), Wesley (60), Chambers (81), Aubameyang (84).



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