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Dean Smith: We were our own worst enemy

By Matt Maher | Aston Villa | Published:

Frustrated boss Dean Smith admitted Villa were their own worst enemy after collapsing to defeat at 10-man Arsenal.

Dean Smith

The visitors led twice at the Emirates but ended up beaten 3-2 despite playing more than half the match with a man advantage, after the hosts had Ainsley Maitland-Niles sent-off.

Goals in the final nine minutes from Calum Chambers and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang saw Unai Emery’s men fight back to win.

Villa remain in the Premier League’s bottom three after their fourth defeat in six matches.

Smiths said: “I didn’t feel Arsenal were better than us. I just think we gave them a helping hand. I felt we opened up gaps for them to exploit.

“There were periods in the second half where, just after we scored, let’s go on the front foot. “For me, we should be on the front foot anyway. We go and get the second goal, great run by Jack and great run and touch by Wes.

“Then, I’m wanting them to go on the front foot. We jumped out at the wrong areas and lost out structure. We gave them a massive helping hands with the goals as well.”

Villa went ahead through John McGinn’s 20th minute strike before Maitland-Niles was dismissed, five minutes before-half-time, after picking up two bookings.

Nicolas Pepe levelled for the hosts from the penalty spot but though Wesley immediately restored Villa’s advantage, they could not hold on.

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“We gave three stupid goals away,” said Smith. “We’ve planted a foot in the penalty box and I don’t think any player in this league needs much encouragement to go down.

“They get a penalty and we try and cushion a header in the six-yard box and they pounce and score when it should be going out for a corner.

“We then play a straight pass into midfield, they win it and break. I felt at 1-0 and 2-1, there were periods where we tried to get the next goal but, on the whole, we tried to hold onto the lead rather than extend it.

“That was the difference, we could have extended the lead and won it comfortably.”

Matt Maher

By Matt Maher
@mjmarr_star

Chief sports writer for the Express & Star.

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