Arsenal will look to bounce back after an encouraging performance ended in a narrow loss against league leaders Manchester City at the weekend. Aston Villa to suffered a loss at the weekend, a definite well deserved loss to Liverpool, and now must head to into this match without their key striker Darren Bent and also Emile Heskey who are both sidelined with injury which is good news for the gunners defence.
The gunners defensive crisis continues to rise with Djourou picking up a groin injury at the Etihad Stadium and is expected to be out for three weeks. Expect to see a back-line similar to the one used when Djourou was forced from the field with Koscielny shifted out to the right, Mertesacker and Vermaelen in the middle and young Miquel called up to play at left-back.
With Song picking up his fifth yellow card last week, the Cameroon midfielder is also out of the match due to suspension. I feel it is more likely that Wenger will go with Frimpong as his replacement alongside both Arteta and Ramsey even though Coquelin has probably been the more impressive of the two in recent matches they have played. Hopefully the young Ghanaian channels his aggression and doesn’t get too rash and indisciplined.
Expect the front three to remain the same as in recent weeks, although no doubt Walcott will no doubt want to be more involved this time after being completely absent against Manchester City. I was disappointed that Walcott couldn’t get into the match as the Englishman definitely has the potential to be a game-breaker, but hopefully he can bounce back and turn it around in this match.
With the gunners only conceding three goals in the their last five matches and Aston Villa having only scored two in their last five, without the likes of Bent it is expected that the gunners should keep a clean-sheet going into the match. Expect to see some goals from the boys in red with Robin van Persie looking to extend his goal scoring streak and expect the gunners to bag all three points!
He is out for tomorrow’s game, he has a mild groin strain. [Three weeks] is what we fear, yes.
Kieran Gibbs has unfortunately had a setback and he is not back yet. It’s very disappointing because we had good hope that he would be back for tomorrow’s game, but he is not available.
Ryo is joining in normal training on Friday, so he is completely back from injury.
He has already practiced today and should be available for next week.
We have good news on Sagna because he has started to run again yesterday and today.
on everybody else…
From Sunday everybody else is available. We have lost Song through suspension and, of course, Djourou through injury.
Arsenal – Robin van Persie – The flying Dutchman has been impressive form this calendar year and will look to continue his fine scoring record.
Aston Villa – Gabriel Agbonlahor – The Englishman has been Aston Villas biggest source of goals this season with five goals and five assists to his name. Expect him to try and capitalise on the flanks, particularly against the inexperienced Miquel.
Koscielny Mertesacker Vermaelen Miquel
Walcott Van Persie (c) Gervinho
With Djourou picking up an injury at the weekend, expect to see the back-line resemble the one used in the second-half at the Etihad with Frimpong now screening the back four due to Song’s suspension.
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