Arsenal V Aston Villa: An Epic Battle On The Cards

When I was growing up, Boxing Day was about Test cricket. Normally, there are two or three matches that start at different grounds around the world and with holidays in school, I used to love watching all of them. This has changed over the last few years. Nowadays, the time just after Christmas is all about non-stop football. It’s already started well with Chelsea dropping more points away from home to a resilient Birmingham.

Arsenal can make this one of the best festive periods of recent years if they continue the home form against Martin O’Neill’s side. A tough task indeed as the visitors have lost fewer games than Arsenal so far. Given their record against other top four sides this season, we might even consider this game as one of the hardest. Some creative folks have already labeled this a grand slam opportunity for Aston Villa.

Last season, the visitors took all three points as we failed to convert our dominance in terms of possession into goals. Villa have done the same to the other top sides this year and will come to the Emirates with the intention of making it hard for us to break them down. Arsene knows what we need to do offensively and defensively. He is quoted on the Arsenal website saying,

Yes, they caught us on the break last season. This year I believe we know what their strength is. Our job is to prevent them counter-attacking and being audacious enough to take the game to them.

It’s interesting to note the combination Wenger has identified. I feel, at times, we have been afraid of taking the game to opposition. We have paid the price for this against teams like Burnley, Sunderland and Chelsea. Hopefully, being at home, we will have higher confidence and spirit of adventure.

I am also keen to see if we can prevent Villa from counter-attacking. Fulham showed how Arsenal can be troubled by long balls into the inside right and left channels. The visitors have also mastered the art of attacking through those areas and we will certainly have a tough time controlling the likes of Agbonlahor.

However, the biggest threat from Villa comes via their organization. They hardly, if ever, lose their defensive shape and the midfielders track back every single time. We will need to be at our creative best if we have to unlock this defense. The longer it takes for us to score the first goal, the harder the game will get.

Cesc, has been rated as 50-50 to start this game. I think Arsene will put him on the pitch if he can jog. El Capitan is by far the most important player in our squad and we will need all his creative talent if we want to prevent the visitors from achieving their grand slam.

Arshavin is another who can change this game. Villa haven’t played against our Russian genius and they could be in for a small surprise. He’s already scored in big games and sometimes you need a moment of individual magic to break down a resolute defense.

Traore is back and that’s a relief. Silvestre would have struggled against the pace of this Villa team. Our full backs are going to face their toughest test so far as the visitors boast of some of the best wide players in the league. Young, Downing and Milner are all capable of explosive bursts down the flanks. They are also extremely accurate with their crossing. Sagna and Traore will have their work cut out as they try to contribute in attack as well as defense.

Team selection will give a clue as to how Arsene sees this game. I have a feeling he will start Cesc in place of Eduardo and push Diaby up front on the left as Arshavin moves into the center. It will also be interesting to see if Eboue gets a start in the front three. It will certainly be a sign that the boss wants to be extra cautious.

I would like to see this starting line up,

Almunia; Sagna, Gallas, Veramelen, Traore; Song, Cesc, Denilson; Nasri, Eduardo, Arshavin

I think we will nick this one by the odd goal in three.

Don’t forget your chance to win arsenal merchandise of your choice. You just have to predict the first goal scorer and the correct score for this game. Details of the contest are on this link. It is open to everyone around the world.


15 Responses to Arsenal V Aston Villa: An Epic Battle On The Cards

  1. Hong_gunner says:

    This game is a big big game. Both for villa and the Arsenal. As you said, the line-up is going to give us a clue. The team line-up is really tricky and there should be a contest for guessing line-up too. Here’s my line-up anyway:
    almunia
    sagna gallas vermaelen traore
    song denilson diaby
    eboue nasri
    arshavin
    Fabregas, may not be ready. As i write, no news has been said. But we’ll see tomorrow. He may replace denilson if he plays. Diaby will be essential against this compact villa midfield. 1st goal will be the key. 2-1 win for us with all goals in the 2nd half.
    (and as i never win things like contests, i’ll do my predictions here). Vermaelen to score the first.

  2. ILIYASU Z. says:

    The players need to play as if it is a cup game and our passing game will help cos Villa only depend on pace.

  3. Saint Steve says:

    Let the prof do what he knows best! We believe in him. Arshavin will score the 1st goal, the match will end Arsenal 3:1 Aston villa. Gunners!

  4. Usman says:

    I expects Cecs 2 start 2 make things possible….. anyway i will support dis……..
    Almunia; Sagna, Gallas, Veramelen, Traore; Song, Cesc, Denilson; Nasri, Walcot, Arshavin

  5. Jack Staniforh says:

    Great Expectations often turn out to be a goal less
    fizzer.Both sides will be tense and the first one to settle into their stride will have a distinct advantage. Other than that these two are well matched and it could come down to lady luck or a refereeing
    decision.

    • desigunner says:

      I can’t see this game turning out to be goal less. That will be a real shock and both the goalkeepers will need a great day.

      I think Villa will come out all guns blazing and I am hoping we don’t start tense other wise we will lose the momentum to them.

  6. Tunde bello says:

    Well stan,i rlly cnt rmembr d last time these two playedout a goalless draw when they met,both sides is filled with super attacking firepower i don’t see the game ending in a goalles draw,a scoredraw perhaps but i think someone will nick this one,i’m hopin it’s arsenal.my prediction,3-1 to the arsenal,arshavin to score first.

  7. 0.9 Calibre says:

    Moving Diaby up is a great idea.. I have always wanted it but i dunno what the boss might think.. i hope diaby moves up to the central position and let arshavin play on the left and nasri on the right.. its a good gamble. even if it doesnt work with our dynamism in play we can always switch.. hope cesc starts.. if he cant then let ramsey play along song and denilson.. ramsey is touted to be the next cesc.. the man to fill cescs shoes should cesc leave.. this is an ideal opportunity to test how well ramsey can do that against a challenging opponent..

    • desigunner says:

      Diaby getting into the box makes us more dangerous but I can’t see him permanently in a central striking role, he will run out of ideas. Occasional bursts seem to be the best option.

  8. Akash says:

    plzzz tell me where can I buy ARSENAl merchendize?????

  9. fingun says:

    funnily enough I had like to see diaby, song and denilson in the midfield again. el capitain is of course a great player but if he is not 100% fit villa will most definitely punish us from the breaks as he wont be fit enough to track back hard enough.. breaking counters is denilsons speciality after all.

    also diaby offers much more threat level in front of the goal against tightly packed defenced both in the ground and air than fabregas.

    I was actually amazed how well the trio did in its last game..

    you guys might not agree but as I have watched cesc play over the past few years he reminds me more and more of andrea pirlo. I wonder if arsene has ever considered wielding him as the anchor man in the middle?
    after all his long balls are extremely accurate and his short passing in the first and second third are awesome.. he also reads the game well which is essential for an anchorman to break down counters and protect the back4 for 20-40 yard passes behind the line. his workrate has improved over the years extremely well too. any though on that? 🙂

    • desigunner says:

      Well I have never seen Cesc as the anchor man so will have to think about what you said. I always see him as an attacking player without any fixed position.

      Fabregas has an amazing ability to finish as he showed against the tots and even Burnley i.e. he can place the ball into the goal giving the keeper no chance. Over the years I can see him scoring 15-20 goals a season.

  10. abdirashiid says:

    l would this information almunai gallas thomas troare sagna song dinlson cesc arshavin silva nasri

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