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Arsenal vs. Aston Villa

Emirates Stadium

15/11/08

15:00

Arsenal v. Aston Villa

Arsenal ride a new found wave of confidence into their next Barclay's Premier League game this Saturday against a down on their luck Aston Villa. After such a promising start to the new season, Villa's engine has sputtered lately seeing them lose their last two games to Middlesbrough and Newcastle. Arsenal, on the other hand, continues the always fluctuating roller coaster ride of the 08/09 season, and at the moment we are sitting high up in the air after impressive wins against Manchester United and Wigan in the Carling Cup. Whether this form continues or is it just another false dawn remains to be seen.

Vital Quotes:

All the talk this week has been about the Carling wonder kids, and rightly so. Though Arsene did find time to talk about our opponents for the weekend. 'They are physically strong and technically efficient. They have a lot of pace and can adjust their style. They can play in the air and on the ground.

'It's very, very open Premier League now. It's tougher this year and more interesting, and it looks like anyone can drop points, which is good for us.

'It's a massive game - a big, big test after the United game. We've built up belief and this game will give us a big answer.'

Martin O'Neal is concerned about playing an on form Arsenal. 'On their own patch they are a very fine footballing side.

'It will be an interesting game because they now think they are back on track for the title. It was a big game for them against Manchester United last weekend - it was a game they had to win and they did it.

'Now it's up to us because we have to try to win a game to put ourselves back on track.'

Arsenal Team News:

After a competent but not sterling preformance against United, Bendtner will be hopeful in maintaining his place in the side, as Adebayor may be fit. The Togolese striker will face a fitness test early Saturday morning to determine whether he will be involved in this match. Almunia is on track to return to the lineup, but I don't see the point in risking his fitness because Fabianski is more than capable of holding up the fort in the bleach blonde Spaniards absence.

Captain Eboue is still out with knee injury, and Robin van Persie sits out the last game of his voluntary suspension.

Player to watch: Abou Diaby

Aboouuuuu! The lanky Frenchman has been a revelation this season playing in the hole up front. At many times during this campaign Arsenal has looked like they lack balance, but with Diaby playing just off the front man, we look fluent. Expect Abou to get another goal today.

Aston Villa Team News:

The big question for Villa is whether big Norwegian striker, John Carew, will be fit enough to start. He has been passed fit enough to warrant a place in the squad, so chances are he will be challenging Gallas and Silvestre for headers come kick off. Stilliyan Petrov and Luke Young could also be back in the Villa team.

Player to watch: Gabriel Agbonlahor

The lightning quick Englishman will look to cause the Arsenal defense all sorts of problems, just like he did last year at the Emirates. His speed poses a problem for every team he lines up against, and if he gets confident then he is almost impossible to control.

Just curious who would win a straight out sprint between him and Theo?

Match Facts & Stats

Home and away

League (inc PL): Arsenal 64 wins, A Villa 58, Draws 36

Prem: Arsenal 16 wins, A Villa 5, Draws 11

at Arsenal only

League (inc PL): Arsenal 42 wins, A Villa 20, Draws 17

Prem: Arsenal 9 wins, A Villa 2, Draws 5

Ref Watch:

Mike Riley will be the head official for this match. So far this season he has refereed 9 matches brandishing 39 yellows and 2 reds, giving him an astonishing 4.56 card per game average. Only Mike Dean has a higher card per game count.

Match Prediction:

I think the main factor in this game is where it is to be played. At the Emirates, excluding Hull of course, Arsenal have had no problems. They've always been able to get their game flowing, and once that happens, we rarely lose. 3-1 to the Arsenal.

Next Fixtures:

22/11 (Sat)- Manchester City (A)- Premier League

25/11 (Tue)- Dynamo Kyiv (H)- Champions League

30/11 (Sun)- Chelsea (A)- Premier League




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The Journalist

Writer: Brice Coffer Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday November 15 2008

Time: 3:13AM

Your Comments

I cant see Villa scoring......except for maybe a penalty or something........as the cards are bound to be flowing from Riley, as they always do.......
lincolnblue
Yeah, I have a feeling I'll be saying ***** OFF Riley at some point today.
TPowell
Lots of pace there, should be an entertaining game. Here's to 3 points! The only thing I'm worried about is Riley.. :P
GoonerLou
wow.. good penalty save by Almunia
fcdematthew
Phew! Great save by Manuel! He obviously watched Fabianski's performance midweek and has come back strong and determined to keep his place.
GoonerLou
we played as if we had no striker at all in the first half.
fcdematthew
If you knew nothing about football and were asked who was playing at home as well as playing in the Champions League you would have said Villa. We were that bad and could easily have been 2-0 maybe 3-0 down by now. Bendtner has been about as much use as handbrake on a canoe I think he's lost every ball so far. So come on guys get a grip!!
itsup4grabsnow
Great play form Gallas after the pen save! Bring Ramsey, Vela and Adebayor on for Bendtner, Denilson and Theo. Diaby on the right, Ade and Vela up front.
Tom14
not impressed at all. vela up front with ade I say
lebob88
I wouldn't be surprised to see Ade later.. Our midfielders need to be their creative selves to get the game going in the 2nd half, which I think we will.
GoonerLou
Arsenal always tend to score in the 2nd half. Come on! we had only one shot on target in the first half.
fcdematthew
Fabregas has been terrible so far, this is a real bore to watch.
Kutch
Can we maybe try and let Vela lead the line? NIck's really bad today but we should rest Ade if we can..
GoonerLou
finally Diaby is off...
fcdematthew
I feel bad for Abou, he's the better one but it's a tactical change, whicih also makes sense in a different way.
GoonerLou
Wow, we actually look like we're trying now. I wonder why?
Kutch
absolutely rubbish performance
fcdematthew
Oh well. I'm beginning to enjoy these defeats, i like to hope the players feel like ***** and in turn that makes me feel better.
Kutch
I'm very disappointed with Bendtner and Cesc.
GoonerLou
Another embarrassing preformance. We're almost to the point now where we lack much more than just a defensive midfielder and a centre back. Villa deserve every thing they have so far and really deserve much, much more. I'm not one to holler for changes, but how can you not at this point?
gunnerkid107
If we're only up for MU but not for Villa, I really don't know what to say.
GoonerLou
I think more than anything, we're lacking a creative midfielder who doesn't seem like his mind is off in the hills somehwere (or perhaps a sunny little city in the east of Spain.) Overall we've been terrible today, the players just don't seem to care enough.
Kutch
Brilliant one week crap the next.
Armory
Like i said before the players just don't seem up for anything at the moment. Maybe it's just complacency, or perhaps they think they're better than they actually are?
Kutch
Silvestre and Gallas can't handle the pace of Agbonlahor. I could see this coming after the Man Utd game, why I didn't get too excited after it. This team hasn't got what it takes to win consistently. We've never replaced Viera and Campbell adequately and until we do, we wont be challenging for any major honours. I defended AW after his lack of transfer activity pre-season saying we should wait to see how well the team does. I've seen enough now, until he buys some quality experienced players and stops this fascination with bringing through the youngsters, we'll win nothing of signficance. Rant over...I feel a bit better now :P
jubair
It's like a lie - to say the team 'flattered to deceive' is an understatment - you know?
GoonerLou
It would be nice if Wenger came out now and said we we're second to Villa in all departments today, i can't bare another weeks worth of headlines exclaiming what sore losers we all are.
Kutch
Yeah Jubair, the truth that hurts me is that I feel as though the kids would have died to start this game, but the first-teamers didn't care. No matter how well the kids have performed thus far, it doesn't seem to have any effect on the perceived competition for places in those so-called big guns' minds either.
GoonerLou
we were lucky to lose only 0-2. good luck.
fcdematthew
Thats exactly it. To be honest i can't imagine many of these players sticking around if we do fail to win anything this season, and if thats the case it's their own fault too because they look as if they couldn't give a *****.
Kutch
*****'s sake. Last week all for naught. Disgraceful.
Moorish
What an awful performance!! unbelievably shameful. this team goes on to beat man utd with some conviction and yet fail to trouble a make shift aston villa defence. not to forget, it was the same team! Everything about this game was bloody ****. our passing, our physical game, fabregas, the ref- ALL BLOODY AWFUL. the manager has to clearly do something about this. we suck when teams play physical....crap im so *****ed!!!!
WouldYouBelieveIt?!
The truth is we played better against Man U than in most other games this season, but even then Utd could have easily drawn or won the match with the chances they had. It has far from a complete performance, but i was desperately hoping it would be a start, a confidence boost maybe that would get us going. The first teamers know the kids are a long way off from threatening their starting places. Even if the players try their hardest, I still feel we're lacking quality compared to previous teams. Denilson is not a bad player, but I'd much rather have someone like Viera playing next to Cesc. Viera has won the league every season in Serie A since he left us. He is far from finished. Silvestre is still a decent player but he is past is best and should only be providing cover. I hope we can hang on to fourth place and AW learns his lesson because I really don't want him to leave.
jubair
Wenger and rice should resign.
lerneravfc
we were destroyed. Bendtner is having some bad times and is not making any use of this opportunity he is being given. Thankfully this should be his last game. We need our strikers back.
mtlgooner
Bendtner was unbelievably selfish at times against Man U, when could have finished the game off if he just passed. I don't want to write him off yet but my hopes for him are disappearing fast.
jubair
You lot are starting to sound like us......a couple of dodgy results and you want yur manager down the road!!!! Are you Tottenham in disguise!!!
Scott Spur
Not many of us want AW to leave, certainly not me, it's hard to criticise him after what he has achieved at the club. Still he must see that we're losing the physical battle in midfield and his stubborness to correct the problem is getting a bit infuriating.
jubair
Scotty,the one person who said Wenger out in this thread happens to be a Villan. Pay attention.
prits
That was a bit rubbish today. Its not just about the lack of playerse one or two positions. The problems are a bit bigger than that. We are back to 3 weeks ago. Also, I feel we have regressed this season, it reminds me a bit of the 2007 season, where we managed to top the big 4 mini-league table but only managed about 65 pts all season.
prits
Call me petty, but I had said I'd only forgive RvP if we beat everyone in his totally unnecessary suspension. We obviously didn't. His absence contributed to the decreased options available and he's also guilty of the issues mentioned above. So let's not forget that although he's not on the pitch today, he shares the blame. And for the record - even though I didn't think it's even necessary for me to say it - I thought the players should take a bigger part of the blame in this game, while Wenger's failure to sign the DM we desperately needed contributes to our bad results, he's still the fittest person to fix this mess because he's the greatest manager in the club's history.
GoonerLou
I don't understand how Wenger managed to get this game so wrong. Why, oh why does he play Bendtner alone up front when he has the likes of Adebayor to call on. Three points thrown away by the manager in this game.
Sindbad
Im getting use to us losing, and thats scary!
Imperium
The mistake was in taking Diaby off. He was playing too far away from Bendtner, which didn't do Nick any good, in order to help out in midfield. Take Walcott off and leave Diaby on and our midfield would have been a bit more resilient. As it was playing with a 3 man midfield proved too much for us. At least a 4-4-2 would have given us a little more midfield strength.
Amos.
How many more losses before AW admits our title challenge is over before December??
Gael-Force
I am a huge fan of Cesc but he was poor today... his worst game at AFC...
Gael-Force
I'm full of respect and admiration for AW but I'm tired of Arsene feeding us crap. His latest quote:“Yes we had a very young midfield but we played against more experienced midfielders. Any midfield in the league is more experienced than ours but it doesn’t stop us from dominating them.”... Our midfield has been lightweight this year and 4 losses at this stage attest to that. The old Vieira-Gilberto pairing stopped 75% of attacks. I believe Wenger must be regretting Flamini. He's the sole difference between this year and last year. Hleb has been replaced by Nasri, Flamini hasn't.
Gael-Force
4-5-1 for an hour and a bit AT HOME against VILLA and the one is a great useless lump of joke.
th41
Well,we lost the game and wit dat our league championship aspirations,(very little to start with) .Basically,we suck and we sucked very hard today. A few Questions: What da hell is wrong wit Fabregas? Very soon,Edelman will tell us we have money to spend in January but why wont Arsene spend? why cant we have a decent defence? Is Silvrstre really better than Senderos? How come Arsenal is the team all pundits predict will be replaced in the so called Big Four? Bendtner,Walcott,Eboue,Diaby,why do they frustrate me so? Why,why,o why wont AW buy somebody, anybody?So many questions.
D'arsassin
1. Because he wants to be in sunny Barcelona with his pal Hleb. 2. He'll probably give us some bull about the credit crunch. 3. Because we didn't need one a few years ago, we were able to score regularly. 4. Is aids better than cancer? 5. Because all ex pundits seem to have played for either Liverpool or Tottenham. 6. Because they're still to young to able to put in brilliant (or even decent) performances regularly. 7. Because it isn't January yet. Hope that answers your questions D'arssassin.
Kutch
This was the first game I got to this season, not really a great one to chose. Gael-force - I disagree that Hleb has been completely replaced. Nasri is a great signing and has shown he can come up with vital goals in a way Hleb consistently failed to do (I can only remember Fulham at the start of last season) but we missed Hleb today. Villa gave us no time on the ball in midfield and I can't help but think that if Hleb was playing instead of Diaby or Walcott we would have been able to retain a bit more possession. Theres room in our squad for both players so its a shame Hleb was so keen to leave. Not sure I agree with those complaining about the tactics, he played the same system that had beat Man U and yielded 5 goals against Fenerbache. We should have gone 4-4-2 earlier though and in my mind it should have been Theo or even Cesc to make way. Defensively I think its time to give Djourou a run in the time with Gallas, he might be less experience than Sylvestre but seems to have a lot of raw talent. Lets hope Wenger finds Vieira Mark II in the transfer window. Ultimately we were up against an inspired Villa side today who clearly had a point to prove after two disappointingly results (the scenario that gave us the extra bite against Man U). There were fortuitous circumstances around both their goals. If we'd nicked a draw it'd have been a decent result if it wasn't for our earlier inexplicable defeats.
Kman
I think Wenger was wrong not to buy. You've got a team of BIG-TIME Charlies I'm afraid. They only show up when it matters and most importantly against a top side. The Stokes, Fulhams and Hulls also DO matter. Wenger should make that a bit clearer to your players.
ForeverUnited
I was at the game today and had an all-round awful day. I feel very down, can only imagine what Arsene is feeling. I think we created 1-2 chances the WHOLE game! For me, Cesc's body language hasn't been right for a few games this season, he's not 100% with us anymore, you can just tell. We are regressing at a rate of knots and I genuinely think we won't finish top 4 this season. There's a top 3 now, not 4.
Gooner_Vin
You still havent replaced some very key players you lost thanks to Wenger's tried and trusted policy - giving the kids a chance.....
ForeverUnited
Folks, couple of Villa match reports from yesterday, feel free to nip over and give your opinions Glensider at Emirates and Randy.Stand (Not a dig and not sarcastic post by the way, just like the interaction and oponents view)
The Fear
Villa fan here what happened today. I for one fully expected after our last two defeats to get outplayed and hammered. What i don't get though is that your fired up for the Man Utd game which is understandable, but you diden't seem to bothered about your closest rivals for 4th. While i think you grab that forth spot or better it's definately game on now regardless if we lose to Man Utd next week. Will be a great race for the Champions League, which like i said i think you will win eventully,but will give you a good fight for it. Anyway good luck for the rest of the season. UTV
Jonesy08
"Giving the kids a chance"????? F**k da kids,I want a trophy dammit.Thanx Kutch, but would u bet your house on AW actually signing someone and not just teasing us with names. Fabregas WILL leave us to play for his"dream club to win trophies" especially if we continue to play like this & winning nothing*****..
D'arsassin
 

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