3 positives & negatives as Arsenal crumble at home Aston Villa

• Captain Ødegaard leads by example again

• Poor man-management

• Blunt edge in attack persists

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Arsenal suffered a huge blow to their title hopes as they fell to a 2-0 defeat against Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium.

On his North London return, Unai Emery once again got the better of his successor, Mikel Arteta, as he managed the Villans to a 2-0 win, ensuring a league double over the Gunners.

Arteta understandably rotated his side with a trip to Munich around the corner, and there was little wrong about Arsenal's first half display except for their work in the final third. However, Villa were dominant in the second half and two late goals saw them earn a deserved three points.

After such a potentially decisive result, here are the positives (of which there were few) and negatives (of which there were many) from the game.

Positive #1: Captain Ødegaard leads by example again

Martin Odegaard, Youri Tielemans, Ollie Watkins
Arsenal FC v Aston Villa - Premier League / Catherine Ivill - AMA/GettyImages

After a game where so little praise is warranted, one player who can hold his head high is captain Martin Ødegaard.

The Norwegian turned in a performance of the highest quality and was an immense creative outlet before being substituted in the 79th minute.

He was at the heart of almost everything positive for the Gunners and, had we managed a result, it would have been largely down to the contributions of the 25-year-old, who has taken his game to a new level this season.

There was some concern post-match, however, when Arteta suggested the Ødegaard may have suffered some form of injury, saying: "Martin Ødegaard out in the second half? He felt something, he was not able to continue."

Negative #1: Title is out of Arsenal's control

Kai Havertz
Arsenal FC v Aston Villa - Premier League / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

When Liverpool lost 1-0 at home to Crystal Palace in the earlier kickoff, an opportunity presented itself to Arsenal to grab the Premier League title race by the horns, but we failed to do that.

In fact, we went from having a great opportunity to arguably take the driving seat to, in some people's eyes, being out of the race altogether.

Whichever side of the fence you fall on, the fact is that Arsenal are now reliant on a slip-up from Manchester City, while the Gunners look likely to need a perfect end to the season from now.

With games still to come away to Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, the road ahead certainly looks challenging for the Gunners to traverse, and it is so frustrating given how different the mood and situation would have been with a win against Aston Villa.

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