There were only 74 seconds on the clock in the Saturday lunchtime Premier League match at Aston Villa before Ollie Watkins goal put the home side ahead.
It was enough to win the game and provide loyal Arsenal fans with another gut-wrenching feeling of despair for the rest of the weekend.
Mikel Arteta’s Gunners succumbed to their tenth Premier League defeat and it’s only the first week in February - leaving Gooners everywhere screaming for more purpose from his team.
The figure matches the same total of games lost in the entire 2019-2020 season, the same agonising campaign that saw us finish in eighth.
Fast forward seven months and we’re now languishing in tenth, with fifteen games to go – with every side, bar Brighton and Newcastle, having games in hand, over Arsenal.
Ahead of a challenging February fixture list, the loss means the side requires an injection of confidence, after gaining only a single point from the last nine.
Not to menton the fact that Saturday’s defeat at Villa Park makes hopes of a Europa League success and the return of the Champions League soundtrack at the Emirates next season even more unlikely (as if it were ever on the cards...)
Ollie Watkins would be a welcome sight in Arsenal colours
Ollie Watkins, boyhood fan of Arsenal, tormented the defence with his early strike. Scoring twice in the Villians win against us back in November, he only needed the one goal this time around to deservedly confirm Villa’s first league double over Arsenal since 1993.
Not a bad return, which also underlined Watkins’ meteoric rise, which started at Exeter City, taking in Brentford, before, finally, via a £28m transfer, to Villa and the Premier League last September.
It was also instructive to note that when Arsenals own leading light, Bakayo Saka, ran through on goal chasing the equaliser, who was there but centre forward Watkins in his box, tracking back and closing the angle off, thereby shutting down Arsenal’s latest tepid attack.
Judging by Watkins’ performances against Arsenal this season, his all-round game would be a welcome sight in Arsenal colours, if they were creative enough to target him for a summer transfer.
What’s eating Auba?
Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang cuts a lonely figure in the Arsenal team right now.
His personal affairs aside, our captain looks, sad to say, a long way from his best.
His performance against Villa was in marked contrast to his efforts last season.
Who recalls his arrow-like free kick against Villa at the Emirates at the start of the 2019-20 campaign, which marked eight goals in eight starts, as the Gunners won 3-2.
The Aubameyang of September 2019 - not to mention last summer prior to his new deal - seems like an awfully long time ago these days...
Issues on the left
January 2021 saw great work done by Arsenal in their outgoings. However, a left sided full back is now, more than ever, a priority, with Kieran Tierney’s niggling injuries reappearing.
Cedric Soares is not to be harshly criticised, but you do not need a coaching qualification to understand the beautiful game sometimes: A right-footed left back will always be found out eventually, and especially in an Arsenal side with a penchant for launching plenty of attacks down the left channel.
Saka switched to left back with the introduction of Martin Odegaard, and you could see Arsenal increase the tempo instantly, as they searched without success for the equaliser.
Don’t break our red and white hearts on Valentine’s Day
Next up for Arsenal is Leeds United on Valentines Day. Worryingly Thomas Partey looks to have suffered a muscle injury.
We can but hope the powerhouse will be fighting fit and in the thick of the physical battle against Biesla’s hard working system in eight days time.
If not, we’ll certainly miss his quick, intelligent passing in tight spaces.
Here’s hoping our Red and White footballing hearts are not broken for an eleventh time this coming weekend.
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