Arsenal v. Aston Villa – LiveBlogBy: Perry | November 24th, 2012
Good Morning Gooners,
Today we visit a very desperate club in Aston Villa at Villa Park. Villa is currently sitting 18th in the table and in the relegation zone. Villa, fresh off their humiliating 5-0 loss to Manchester City, need this win today badly so expect them to bring their best game. We all know how these lower tier clubs seem to always “show up” for matches when they play us, so equally Arsenal will have to be their best.
Arsenal are fresh from two consecutive victories; the 5-2 win over Tottenham in the league and our midweek UCL 2-0 victory over French champions Montpellier. We MUST find a way to use this boost to our advantage because today is as good as any to make up some ground and inch closer to 4th (and hopefully continue our run to fight our way to 3rd).
Many of our players – Cazorla, Giroud, Poldi, Walcott – are in great form at the moment, so I don’t doubt we will pose a great threat for Villa, who have only 1 win in their last 6 Premier League games.
Aston Villa will be hoping to take advantage of our leaky defence which is always suspect to letting in the odd goal or two. Even when we thought we sealed the win against the Spuds, somehow we gave them hope…hopefully we can keep a clean sheet today as it’s good as any opportunity to do so. Although we have conceded a total of 13 goals in 12 games, our defence is still on paper one of the best in the league due to our 3 clean sheets at the start of the campaign.
We will need to keep our eye on Villa striker, Christian Benteke, the Belgium whom Arsenal targeted over the summer. He’s a pretty dynamic striker, so if he finds some space, he could give us trouble. Darren Bent is may return from injury for Villa, but would start on the bench if he does make it back.
Arsene Wenger confirmed that Theo Walcott remains out with a shoulder injury picked up in the win over Spurs. Andre Santos is also out with a stomach problem, but Kieran Gibbs and Gervinho are both back in contention after returning from injury to be on the bench against Montpellier.
Abou Diaby is still four weeks away from fitness, but Tomas Rosicky is due back on Monday. I’m really excited to see Rosicky coming back!
Starters: Wojciech Szczesny, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Carl Jenkinson, Kieran Gibbs, Mikel Arteta, Lukas Podolski, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey, Olivier Giroud, Santi Cazorla
Subs: Vito Mannone, Bacary Sagna, Thomas Vermaelen, Jack Wilshere, Francis Coquelin, Andrei Arshavin, Gervinho
Big surprise I must say to see both Sagna and Verm on the bench today, very unWenger-like. However, definitely a good opportunity to have some squad rotation today and rest some players. I’m also glad to see Jack on the bench, and likely subbed in later in the match. Can’t stress enough that he needs to continue to be gradually eased in. Very nice to see we’ve got some players coming back from injury to give us some much needed depth. Can’t wait to see Rosicky back in the team in the next few weeks.
Arsenal 2 – Villa 1
Match starts at 12:30 EST and can be streamed here: http://atdhenet.tv/
Chat you guys in the LiveBlog…COME ON YOU GUNNERS!!