Villa were given a lesson in football by Arsenal, yet somehow were still in the game until injury time.
Villa were almost a goal down inside a minute as Arsenal had two chances after defensive lapses. Villa were employing Carew as the lone striker with Robert Pires behind him in forward midfield. It was Arsenal all the half as Villa couldn't keep the ball up front.
Amazingly, it was Villa who looked like they might snatch the first goal when Ciaran Clarke sent a flick on header to Ashley Young who couldn't steer the ball home. Then Wilshire handled in the box with his arms above his head as Fabregas did against Spurs last week, but Clattenburg was the ref.
Arsenal were a herad moments later after another Villa defensive error. Luke Young charged in for a long ball that James Collins seemed to have comfortably and neither player gott the ball and it rolled out to Arshevin who punished Villa with a hard shot that Freidel got a hand to. Moments later Nasri turned Dunne and took the ball around the American but, his shot went wide.
Arsenal were in top form now and Villa looked simply sluggish. A long build up ended with a Chamakh header going straight at Friedel's right hand and the keeper showed good strength to keep it out. From the corner, there was no reflexes though as Nasri's volley struck the unfortunate Luke Young and flew into the net.
At half time Pires made way for Delfouneso. Pires had shown a few good touches, but looked as sluggish as the rest of the Villa team. Villa almost immediately looked better and grabbed a goal. A cross in was headed to Clarke by an Arsenal defender. The centre half, converted to midfielder, chested cooly and struck beautifully into the top corner. John Carew was in an offside position at the time and stood up as the shot came in and put off the Arsenal goalie. The goal shouldn't have stood, but Mark Clattenburg was the ref.
Arsenal regained their two goal cushion. Dunne failed to move up with the rest of the back four and Chamakh was suddenly onside. Friedel was late coming off his line and badly positioned and the ball went straight into the net.
Villa were now being pushed back again, so Houllier took off Carew for Stephen Ireland, who looked impressive for the first 5 minutes with 3 or 4 very good touches and Villa fed off it and got back into the game again. Dunne won a corner in the air and headed the ball on to Clarkes head and he nodded the ball off the bar and into the goal for 2-3.
Villa kept trying, but were not getting much in the way of chances as poor passing ended too many attacks. Dunne headed goalwards, but with no run from Luke Young, the keeper had an easy task to gather the ball.
Substitute Chris Herd replaced Bannan, but now Villa had completely lost a grip on the middle and Arsenal kept pushing and when Herd left Wilshere alone on the far post, Chamkh just lofted a pass over his head to the England under 21 star to head his first ever Gunner goal.
It is now a dire time for a Villa side that seems to pick up 2 injuries for every 1 player they get back. Carew got back for Hogg and Agbonlahor to go injured. But, with the confidence looking so low for Villa right now, it doesn't even feel like the players out are going to come back and make things better.
Suddenly, there is a feeling that Villa are going to need 4 players, all up the middle of the field, keeper, defender, (Cuellar anyone?), midfield playmaker and forward to keep Villa securely in the division.