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Aston Villa boss Smith on Arsenal defeat: We were unrecognisable in first-half

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith admits they paid for a poor first-half after their 3-1 defeat at Arsenal on Friday night.

Thomas Partey, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Emile Smith Rowe struck for Arsenal before Jacob Ramsey's consolation for the visitors.

Smith later said, "It was a very poor first half. Not recognisable as a Villa team we have come to know. They deserved what they got. We got dominated physically. If we had got through the half at 1-0 I would have fancied us, but 2-0 was hard to get.

"We knew Arsenal would start strong. I'd love to say it was the system and personnel but we just didn't play well. Didn't win enough balls, weren't good enough on the ball. I'll accept the second half all day long but the first half was not good enough."

On the Arsenal penalty, which Aubameyang scored from on the rebound, Smith said: "It is a lower contact tackle. Grey areas, does he touch the ball first or his leg first? I thought they were the ones we were not going to VAR for. I am even wondering why he is allowed to put the rebound in.

"My understanding was he is walking off the pitch if he does not go to VAR, they cant give me any clarity on that.

"I am concerned by the first half performance today. You never like losing any game, we will put it right. We have players coming back and more options in a good squad."


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