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Arsenal v. Villa

Aston Villa

Ashburton Grove



After a handful of lackluster Boxing Day matches, Arsenal and Aston Villa have been left with the responsibility of bringing excitement to the holiday fixture schedule. With Chelsea dropping points once again, there is even more incentive for both teams.

Vital Quotes:

Arsene is certainly not taking Villa lightly.

"For me December has been a U-turn for us in the League," he said. "We beat Stoke, Liverpool, Hull and drew at Burnley so we made some ground up on other teams who dropped points".

"Of course now we want to finish the month well to completely reverse the position. At the end of November nobody gave us a chance. Over the Christmas period we can show in a concrete way that we have the potential to win the title.

"And considering we are in a great position, this is as big a game [as Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea] because it is a very big opportunity for us."

Arsenal Team News:

Officially Cesc Fabregas is rated as 50/50, but I'm sure he'll play. Maybe more hopeful than sure. This is too big of a game to barely miss out. We're only seven points behind Chelsea with two games in hand.

Besides Cesc, only Armand Traore is back. He will slot in for Silvestre. Rosicky will be back soon, while Bendtner is 2-3 weeks away. Clichy, Gibbs, Djourou, and van Persie are all still out.

Predicted Starting XI: Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Traore, Song, Denilson, Fabregas, Diaby, Nasri, Arshavin

Player to watch: Everyone

I'm going to take the easy way out here, but I honestly can't single out one individual player that needs to play exceptionally well. Everyone needs to play their best.

Aston Villa Team News:

Villa's good run of form lately is partly down to a kind injury record for Martin O'Neill. Bouma and Davies are out, while Heskey is a slight doubt. Other than that, MON has a full crop of players to pick from.

Possible Starting XI: Friedel, L Young, Cuellar, Dunne, Warnock, A Young, Petrov, Milner, Downing, Heskey, Agbonlahor.

Player to watch: James Milner

A move into the centre of the midfield this season has seen Milner blossom. Villa supporters are full of praise for the former Leeds man. Denilson and Song will have their hands full.

Ref Watch:

Phil Dowd will be the head official for tomorrow's match.

Match Prediction:

It's hard to give a prediction if you don't know if your inspirational young captain will be playing. But as I said earlier, I think he will play, so I'll go with that. It's going to be an epic tie, but Villa are due a defeat. 3-1 to the Arsenal. It'll be close, but Arsenal will get a third, insurance goal late on.

Next Fixtures:

30/12 (Wed) - Portsmouth (a) - Premier League

3/1 (Sun) - West Ham (a) - FA Cup

6/1 (Wed) - Bolton (h) - Premier League

Writer:Brice Coffer
Date:Saturday December 26 2009
Time: 6:48PM


I like your Confidence and i like it even more that once again Villa are underdogs. We beat you last season away 2-0, you have a heavy list of injuries. Villa could well win this and we have such a point to prove this season, Also don't expect that 4.4.2 line up. I wouldn't be suprised if Villa went 4,5,1 with Ashley and Downing on the Wings with Reo Coker playing as a defensive Midfielder instead of Heskey being on the pitch. I'm predicting 2-2.
Villa 4 Ever
26/12/2009 19:12:00
I don't think I was overly confident in my prediction.
26/12/2009 20:02:00
LOL, We have only conceded 14 all season and you think that you will get 3 in one game???? That's COCKY not overly confident.
26/12/2009 20:27:00
We've scored more goals than anyone else in the league, and we average over 3 goals per game at home. So I'd say perhaps you are too cocksure in your predictions.
26/12/2009 20:52:00
Missing Cesc and van Persie, our two best players, would make this a great opportunity for Villa to beat us, especially with their confidence after beating Chelsea, Man U and Liverpool. Without Cesc and van Persie, it's evenly matched and we're going to have to give a top-quality performance.
26/12/2009 20:57:00
You should rephrase that sentence to read " We were averaging over 3 goals per game at home until Van Persie twisted his ankle" ;-D
26/12/2009 21:03:00
I'm not an Arsenal supporter but Villa fans need to be careful not to be too over confident as Spurs were prior to their game at the Emirates
26/12/2009 21:16:00
I am a Villa fan and I'm not over confident. I do think we can beat you but I don't expect us to by any means. I would be more than happy with a draw but am optimistic of better. I think it could be a thrilling game and as your preview suggests it is up to our two great clubs to bring some excitement into the Boxing Day fixtures after today's boring results. I think we are the only top flight club still yet to lose at The Emirates. This could of course end tomorrow..... Or we could continue our impressive run at your place. Either way I can't wait until kick off. 4-4 would be fun but I can't see it really so I'm gonna go for a cheeky 0-1 to Villa.
Adam Deuce
26/12/2009 22:37:00
Not a big deal if Cesc doesnt play Diaby,Deni and Song did a great job Vs Hull.
26/12/2009 23:26:00
I don't think anyone can be surprised with any outcome the game gives us tomorrow. This has to be one of the most unpredictable matches I can remember.
26/12/2009 23:30:00
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