Aston Villa 3-0 Arsenal

Reserve League South Walsall FC Monday, Mar 19, 2007, 7pm

By Adam Clark

Aston Villa's experienced performers dealt Arsenal Reserves a lesson in winning games, according to Matthew Connolly.

The Captain of the Club's Reserve team saw his side slip to a 3-0 defeat at Walsall FC on Monday night despite proving the equal of their hosts for much of the match.

Villa's ability to turn possession into simple goals proved the difference and Connolly urged his team-mates to heed a lesson from such ruthlessness.

"I think we all worked hard, even though the scoreline wasn't the best," the 19-year-old centre back told "We gave away early goals - and they were sloppy goals to concede.

"I thought we played quite well but just didn't break through or make chances. I think their experience showed. They know how to win games even when they're not playing well and that's what we need to learn."
"I think we're all learning from every game because when you're young you learn from all situations, whether the team is winning or losing."

Aston Villa handed starts to five players with Premiership experience including former Arsenal goalkeeper Stuart Taylor and two-goal striker Luke Moore. After seven defeats in eight games Connolly said the young Gunners could benefit from a similar mix of youth and know-how.

"Of course experience is a massive help," he said. "If you had replaced their experience with young players I think we would have won the game.

"Obviously when the more experienced players are available it's good. Ours were at the beginning of the season and I remember Emmanuel Adebayor, Theo Walcott and Ashley Cole all playing for us. You learn from players like that.

"But we're all young and want to play at this level and we're all fighting to keep our places."

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21 Mar 2007