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Preview: Villa v. Arsenal

Aston Villa

Villa Park



Today Arsenal return to the ground of one of their must infuriating capitulations of last season. However, this time around the team will arrive at Villa Park with the hope of igniting a title challenge. Four games to decide a season and that starts against Aston Villa.

Vital Quotes:

Here's Arsene on our next 4 games:

"I have never known a run of four league games as significant as these. Never before in all my time here, not four on the trot.'

"If we win them all, we are in a very strong position, so let`s start with the first one and ignore the others.'

"It is a great opportunity to send a message to the rest of the Premier League. We want to take it and I am very confident that we are in a good position and let`s go for it. To win the next game would satisfy me. What is important is our capability to focus on each game 100 per cent and to give 100 per cent.'

Aston Villa Team News:

Left back Stephen Warnock, who has 17 appearances so far this EPL season, will not play due to a shin injury. Nigel Reo-Coker and John Carew will also be out, while Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov is a major doubt.

Player to watch: James Milner

He was my player to watch back in December, and he proceeded to be massively underwhelming. I'm hoping lightning can strike twice. Thank me later.

Arsenal Team News:

Knock on wood, but our injury list is shortening. I know, shocking right? Nasri and Bendtner will make a return to the bench, and Diaby, Eboue, and Song could return for the visit of United on Sunday. Sagna and Gallas are struggling with injuries to their shoulder and back, respectively, but both will push through.

Predicted Starting XI: Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy, Denilson, Eastmond, Fabregas, Rosicky, Eduardo, Arshavin

Player to watch: Eduardo

Eduardo's link up play has been superb, but eventually the goals need to come. Maybe the sight of Bendtner on the bench will give Dudu some added incentive.

Match Facts & Stats

Villa's only victory against the Gunners in the last 22 league matches was 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium last season

If Villa fail to score today it will be their longest run without a goal under manager Martin O'Neill. They have not failed to score for four games in a row since December and January 2001.

Cesc Fabregas has scored five goals in his last four league matches, including two against Villa in the reverse fixture.

Ref Watch:

Lee Probert will be the head official for today's match.

Match Prediction:

You know that feeling in your chest before big games? Of course you do, every football supporter does. Well that feeling settled deep in my chest about 3pm on Monday. I better get used to that for the next two weeks.

I'm going 2-1. Cesc with the winner. Really who else could it be?

Next Fixtures:

31/1 (Sun) - Manchester United (h) - Premier League

7/2 (Sun) - Chelsea (a) - Premier League

10/2 (Wed) - Liverpool (h) - Premier League

Writer:Brice Coffer
Date:Wednesday January 27 2010
Time: 5:03AM


I predicted Eastmond will get to start in the DM role. I think he's earned it. Does anybody agree? Or will Ramsey slot in alongside Cesc?
27/01/2010 05:20:00
I think Eastmond was OK in his PL debut, but clearly showed signs of nervousness in the second half with some needlesly given away balls. But that's understandable for such a young and new player. So is it really a good idea to start him against Villa and in such an important mach? I mean, i think we'd all agree that if we have any shot of winning the title, it will be settled in the next 4 games? I'm excited/nervous and very hungover.
27/01/2010 06:20:00
And who's the negative *****ers that made that poll look the way it does? Confidence boys, gets you a long way!
27/01/2010 06:22:00
just hope we do it tonight so that stupid f...ers such as this Derek have it shoved up where the sun dont shine.
27/01/2010 07:59:00
Here's to a good run in this key set of matches ahead. Am sure we will do ok in the next 4 matches with Bendtner and Song (Sunday onwards) hopefully coming back. Bit worried about the fact that Gallas has been playing through pain as has Arshavin. Considering that Diaby may have lost some of his rhythm through the calf injury and Denilson is a bit off the pace because of the back injury, I was hoping for atleast one addition in either midfield or attack before the window closes. Its a bit strange that AW has ruled out signings after appearing to be after both a striker and possibly a midfielder (in case Cesc needed a breather). Oh well, sod it all. Go gunners!
27/01/2010 08:22:00
Hope you fellas win tonight, it'd be a great help for us :) I also hope you go on to win the league, I think when you turn it on there's no team better. Eduardo hasn't shone lately though, been wondering why he's still starting, think Bendtner should rank above him when fit. GL.
27/01/2010 08:51:00
Big test for this squad. A few times this season, this team has done really well to boost our hopes, and then thrown it all away with some poor performances. This is a good period to see if the fans' belief in this team is justified.
27/01/2010 08:52:00
I don't see how we can't take, at least, a point against Villa tonight, with the lads knowing what is at stake. I feel that Ramsey will start ahead of Eastmond, just for his greater experience. For me, 7 points will be enough from these set of games as we do have easier games afterwards, plus a winnable last 7 run of games(including City), at the business end of the season, while our rivals will be playing one another and other top 4 aspirants, with most games away. Deltaforce, I think Sol can comfortably, replace Gallas, as he gets fitter; though, WG does look like he will take some stopping, injured or not. Agree that the team does need an injection of spirit which new signings usually provide, but maybe, our returnee players can give that spark, at the right time. Wenger has, once again, said the right things about 'looking for a striker to replace RvP' and all that, just to keep fans and the media hoping, knowing he didn't intend to bring in anyone, with Bendtner close to a return. Stubborn (genius of a) man.
27/01/2010 08:59:00
i dont think eastmond will start such a crucial match without a string of prem lge games under his belt. i would be more comfortable with ramsey partnering cesc and denny. lets forget about transfers (as it clearly ain't happening) and just focus on these next 4 games. i think a win tonite will boost our confidence enough to get through all 4 games. a loss, and the reverse could happen. with nasri and bendtner on the bench i think we would surely have too many options for villa. an emphatic win for me 4-1 to the ARSENAL.
27/01/2010 09:44:00
i cant decide if i would rather have eastmond or denilson in the holding role!? thank fek song is back this week!
27/01/2010 10:16:00
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