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Aston Villa vs. Arsenal

Villa Park

24th November, 2012

5.30pm GMT

On Sky

Aston Villa v Arsenal Match Preview

Arsenal travel to Villa Park with the winds of a satisfying victory over Spurs and Champions League knockout qualification gently guiding their sails.

Paul Lambert's Villa on the other hand, have three goals and three points less than Alex McLeish's eye bleedingly dull side last season and will be looking to react to a 5-0 shellacking against Manchester City last week.

Vital Quotes:

Arsene Wenger acknowledged the difficulty that awaits his side on Saturday team time, 'I've just watched their (Villa's) game against Manchester United. They're a dynamic side,' he said.

'I think it will be down to our performance because we know we played QPR who had not won, and we won in the last minute.

'Every year we go to Villa Park and get a hard game and we expect the same this time.'

Aston Villa Team News:

Darren Bent returns for Villa after three games out with an ankle injury. But Charles N'Zogbia (knee) and Richard Dunne (knee) are only back in light training.

Chris Herd, Styilian Petrov and Joe Bennett are also unavailable.

Aston Villa (from): Guzan, Given; Clark, Vlaar, Baker, Howton, Lichaj, Stevens, El Ahmadi, Ireland, Holman, Delph, Albrighton, Gardner, Bannan, Agbonlahor, Westwood, Benteke, Bent, Weimann.

Player to watch: Stephen Ireland

When he can be bothered, Ireland has the ability to run games from midfield and has the sort of eye for a pass that the likes of Agbonlahor and Benteke will enthuse about.

He was Manchester City's Player of the Year in 2009 and he hasn't lost that ability. He just selects when to use it. If he fancies it tomorrow, we'll have to be on our guard.

Arsenal Team News:

Arsenal are still deprived of Theo Walcott (shoulder) and Andre Santos (stomach) in the short term.

Abou Diaby (thigh), Tomas Rosicky (achilles) and Lukasz Fabianski (ankle) are out.

Arsenal (from): Szczesny, Mannone, Sagna, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Arteta, Ramsey, Wilshere, S.Cazorla, Chamberlain, Gervinho, Podolski, Arshavin, Giroud, Chamakh.

Player to watch: Thomas Vermaelen

With Kieran Gibbs back fit and presumably in line to start, discussion will abound over who should start in defence. Per Mertesacker would be most people's first choice. Vermaelen has come in for criticism this season.

Having the captain's armband brings focus onto you, as Koscielny's unconvincing displays have been largely ignored. I expect Vermaelen to get the nod and he'll need to demonstrate that that's the right choice.

Match Facts & Stats

Arsenal haven't lost at Villa Park since letting a two goal lead slip in a 3-2 reverse in December 1998.

The sides have met 184 times. Arsenal have won 75 times against Villa, with Villa winning 65 times. 44 draws.

Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski is the only player in the Premier League to have started every game and be substituted in each one.

Ref Watch:

Referee will be Lee Mason.

Match Prediction:

I'm going 3-1 Arsenal. Benteke for Villa. Giroud, Gervinho and Cazorla for Arsenal.

Next Fixtures:

Arsenal travel to Goodison Park to face Everton on Wednesday. Aston Villa play Reading at home on Tuesday.

The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday November 23 2012

Time: 2:15PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
It won't be an easy game at the start, seeing as the Villans can play a high pressure game at home. Anyone who saw the game against United will understand this observation. The key is to score first/early and get the crowd silent and nervous. I feel it is a chance for the manager to rest some players for the midweek clash with Everton. Any 3 of Coquelin, Gibbs, Jenks, Ramsey, Gervinho, Ox and Arshavin should be trusted to play some part in this game.
Report Abuse
24/11/2012 14:15:00

With WBA and Everton not looking like letting up, we will need to win this. Good luck, lads!
Report Abuse
24/11/2012 14:18:00

Think the game will be close..a draw even, 1-1. Villa will play with a very high tempo and our passing game hasnt been the best lately.
Report Abuse
24/11/2012 14:51:00

It's 3 changes for Villa. Jenks, Gibbs and Ramsey for Sagna, Vermaelen and Jack, respectively. Here's hoping the changes don't disrupt our momentum.
Report Abuse
24/11/2012 17:11:00

.......not that we had a choice in the matter.
Report Abuse
24/11/2012 17:12:00


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