Aston Villa Me Up Baby!

Morning All…

Today is officially match day and there is nothing quite like a game when you’re on a run of form, when the sun is out and when the opponent is Aston Villa. The Villans have been very poor under Alex McLeish and they’ve really been quite average. They did indeed lose a sizeable amount of talent in the summer with the various sales they’ve had – but any team with the likes of Charles N’Zobia, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Darren Bent should be able to score goals. And despute their average-ness this season, that’s the major worry to be honest. They can score goals. I’d expect them to sit back and defend until they can break, and break they will do with pace.

What does this mean? Well, it means we’re going to have to be patient for sure. Away games are different, and Everton came at us, allowing us space – but against Villa it will be different. They will pack their half – two banks of four and maybe 4-5-1 with a lone striker. I’d expect them to be a little aggressive too if McLeish and the way he primed Birmingham are anything to go by.

The team news ahead of the game is that we’ve got no new injuries to worry about and we do have Squillaci & Diaby back in contention if need be…

Szcznesy

Sagna – Koscielny – Vermaelen – Gibbs

Arteta – Song

Walcott – Ramsey – Gervinho

Van Persie

It’s been interesting in recent weeks to see the rotation of Gervinho, Rosicky and Oxlade in the team. Personally for this game, I think Rosicky will be rested – especially after his exertions in recent weeks. I also think Gervinho will get a run out – he needs one – and if he does well, it will give us more options for the run in…

Arsene spoke about our recent run, and there was a sense of satisfaction in his voice…

“Am I surprised? No. But pleased? Yes. People questioned our attitude because we lost some games [in January] from leading situations at Fulham and Swansea. Recently it has been the reverse. But in the Fulham game, we’d played Saturday-Monday, finished with ten men and had no full-backs at the time. Since then we have more options and a bit better plan. That has allowed the team to feel more confident. At that time [this comeback] was difficult to predict. But I knew one thing – we wouldn’t give up. We were ready to fight until the end of the season and that’s all we promised ourselves.

And the comment about more options is very much true. Rosicky has had an excellent revival of form and you have to give the boy credit for the turn around. Oxlade has given himself every chance of being selected with some great performances and of course, the original replacement for Nasri, Gervinho is back in the squad, albeit suffering from a loss in confidence.

It’s Sp*rs vs Chelsea first and a draw is a good result for us – and a win for us too obviously!

I’ll be back after the game for a post-match digest… until then, enjoy the football…

  • ArseBum

    I don’t think Rosicky should be rested at all.
    He is the man in form. Ramsey isn’t in great form and neither in gervinho.

    I’d prefer Rosicky + Oxlade to start.

  • ArseFan101

    But if Rosicky + Oxlade start on the bench. Then they can come on and win the game if we’re drawing 0-0

  • devday

    @ ArseBum:
    The main thing to remember is that Rosicky has played a hell of a lot of games and for this type of game, surely worth a rest – to come on if we’re not winning?

  • mannu

    Super, super goal from Arteta. Well deserved, brilliantly executed.

    Sadly missed by the early leavers.