Aston Villa vs Arsenal: Match preview – A win, to show we’re top four material
Written by Chris on December 25, 2008 19:30
Just one month ago, Sir Alex Ferguson warned Arsenal that they are no longer top four material. Days later, we went at Stamford Bridge and defeated Chelsea. Yet, we are now behind Aston Villa and a defeat would see us fall even further behind them, so, knowing that the three matches after tomorrow’s will all be at the Emirates, let’s just hope for one last effort from the lads for this year.
It’s not an easy time for us Gunners, actually, it never was this season, but we will have a point to prove tomorrow at Villa Park. Of course, it will be no easy task now that we lost our key player for four months, but whether Arsene will spend or not, we have to face reality and understand that we have to play at least two matches without any new faces. Our coach believes Villa are not well-equipped enough to fight for the title, but in a way, the same could be said about us, so that was not a nice thing to say, especially before such an away match.
So how to make up for Cesc’s absence? I wish to see Aaron Ramsey given a chance. He may lack in experience, but sooner or later he has to be given a chance and I bet he can do better than Diaby. Song should support the midfield. For sure, I hope not to see Denilson take the Cesc role as he’s yet to show he’s ready for that. Many rate him high, but can you remember the last match where he was as influential as Cesc can be, with a long-range pass or a goal for example?
Up front, Carlos Vela should step in for the suspended Adebayor. Villa’s backline is very strong and good in the air, so if strong strikers won’t do the trick – as we clearly saw at the Emirates – let’s opt for speed and creativity. No Bendtner please. Finally, with Toure back, I would try and go for last season’s back-line or maybe stick with Djourou and try Kolo somewhere in midfield. The line-up I hope for tomorrow is:
Sagna – Gallas – Toure – Clichy
Eboue – Ramsey – Nasri
Van Persie – Vela
Villa boss Martin O’Neill is looking forward to face Arsenal as he praised his players for a terrific start to the season:
The players are getting a bit of praise and some of it may be over the top but they have deserved it at the end of the day because they have done exceptionally well. This is a game to look forward to and savour. It would be hard to play Arsenal and not get some enjoyment out of the game.
They are a very fine footballing side. Last season, their first-half performance at Villa Park was sensational. They will still feel as if they are in the title race and who is to say they aren’t. But I think we are getting better and it should be a fine game.
Finally, this is what Arsene Wenger said ahead of tomorrow’s match and on Aston Villa:
Villa are mathematically in there but if you asked me if they are going to win the title I would say no because there are other teams who to me look better equipped. For a place in the top four, they are a threat.
We are three points behind and have a good opportunity to come back on them. It is a very important game for us.
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