Game #4697

Season | 2000-01 |

Matchday | #37 |

League Game | #29 |
Premier League Match-week | #29 |

Manager Game | #147 |

Sunday, 18 March 2001

Premier League | Home | Arsenal | Villa Park | 36,111 | 

Game Summary

Manager | John Gregory | 

KO | 16.00 |
Referee | Barry Knight | 
HT Score | 0-0 |
FT Score | 0-0 |
FT Result | Drew |
Last 5 Games | DLDWD | 

League Position | 12th | - |

Line Up |

GK David James | 
LB Alan Wright | 
CB Gareth Southgate | 
BOOKED | 55' |
CB Alpay Özalan | 
M Lee Hendrie | 
M Ian Taylor | 
M Steve Stone |
BOOKED | 52' |
M Paul Merson | 
W David Ginola | 
F Julian Joachim | 
SUB OFF | 77' |
CF Juan Pablo Ángel | SUB OFF | 65' |

Substitutes |

F Darius Vassell for CF Juan Pablo Ángel | 65’ | 
CF Dion Dublin for F Julian Joachim | 77’ |

Unused Substitutes |

GK Peter Enckelman
M Gareth Barry
FB Mark Delaney

Cards | 

 Yellow | Steve Stone | 52’ |

 Yellow | Gareth Southgate | 55’ |

Team Stats |

Starting XI Average Age | 27.18 | 

Oldest Player | M Paul Merson | 32.35 |

Youngest Player | FB Jlloyd Samuel | 19.31 |

Match Report

The Guardian

Monday, 19 March, 2001

Match Report by Paul Weaver

A match that kicked off in a blizzard and ended in the pale sunshine of a beckoning spring certainly appeared to occupy the span of a season for most spectators. 

We had to wait until the 82nd minute for the first decent off-the-ball run. It was performed by a streaker. He might have been simply bored although, given the bitterness of the weather, a suicide attempt could not be discounted. 

The most significant feature of the game took place in the secvond minute of added-on time when the Arsenal defender Gilles Grimandi was shown the red card for his second bookable offence.

Grimandi, whose late foul on Darius Vassell followed a yellow-card challenge on Julian Joachim in the 65th minute, will now miss the FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on April 8. This was the 32nd time an Arsenal player has been sent off in Arsène Wenger’s five seasons at Highbury. 

“It was harsh,” said Wenger last night. “If the referee had remembered that he had already given Gilles a yellow card, he might not have given him a second one,” he said. 

Wenger has informed the England management that his goalkeeper David Seaman, who missed yesterday’s match with an inflammation of the back, is not definitely out of next weekend’s match against Finland at Anfield. 

“It doesn’t look really bad,” he said. “He was OK on Friday and Saturday but he felt sore when he woke up this morning. There must be a doubt about the weekend but we will know more within the next 48 hours.” 

This was such an awful game that anyone who missed it was truly fortunate. When Villa beat Ipswich nine days ago it was their first league victory at home since November. On this form they might have to wait until next November for another win. 

That triumph over Ipswich probably confirmed Villa’s immediate future in the Premiership. But this is a club that appears to be going nowhere. 

“I am neither deaf nor blind to the thoughts of all sections of our support,” the chairman Doug Ellis said in the programme, though there were times yesterday when he probably wished he was. David Ginola, on the left, did nothing to discount the doubts his manager has about him while Paul Merson, on the right, was less creative than he can be. 

Arsenal are shambling through Europe like an overladen backpacker and now their form in the Premiership is just as unconvincing. Yesterday Sylvain Wiltord was paired with Dennis Bergkamp but they were easily swallowed up by Villa’s tight back four.

Wenger blamed the pitch. “It is the worst in the Premiership,” he said. “There was no grass and today it was hard and bumpy. I thought we were very concentrated today. But we lacked sharpness around the box.” 

Villa’s John Gregory did not disagree with Wenger about the pitch. “I think he’s right - it’s not a particularly good surface. But it will be relaid. 

“Talking to some people today you would have thought that we had drawn at home to Basingstoke. But Arsenal are an outstanding club; an outstanding football team. They are littered with internationals. 

“We didn’t play particularly well but I’m glad we got something out of it. We have one of the best defensive records in the league and David James, who has proved one of my better signings, can take a lot of credit for that,” 

Perhaps a match between a side that is just about safe from relegation and another that has already been beaten for the championship did not promise riches. But this barren stalemate was still a terrible disappointment. 

Arsenal did go close in the 68th minute when Ray Parlour crossed from the right and Bergkamp did not get quite enough boot on the ball. Grimandi also went close in the 86th minute, but by then everyone had decided that this game did not deserve to be garnished with a goal.