Arsenal’s recent form is hard to argue with and are definitely the favourites going into this clash against lowly Aston Villa, who lie down the table in 15th. The gunners are on a six game winning streak in the Premier League and no doubt will want to extend this run before our highly anticipated clash with Premier League contenders Manchester City.
Much of our success in recent weeks has been down to the consistency of defence. The combination of Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs and Szczesny has been integral in our hard fought wins in previous weeks, while the contribution of Vermaelen on attack has resulted in two winning goals by the rock solid central-defender. There is no doubt the back-line has looked much more reliable of late and hopefully no injuries break this unit up in weeks to come.
With the Aston Villa tie only three days after our hard fought victory against Everton, it is likely Arsene Wenger will change the side that faced the toffees in midweek. There is definitely a chance for young Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and also Gervinho to replace Rosicky and Walcott.
There is no doubt the gunners should come out victors in this match, especially with top forward Darren Bent ruled out for the rest of the season. It is imperative the gunners keep their momentum going with their big clash against City only a couple of weeks away.
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Our experience in these last six games has been that we had to fight to win each one. We don’t expect that to be any different until the end of the season.
We must just play as well as we can, develop the quality of the game we want to play and fight for each other. The Premier League has high demands physically and mentally, we just want to enjoy it.
on whether Villa is in danger of relegation…
I don’t think they are in trouble because the teams behind them are too far away.
For me, they are a good side if you look at the players they have. They lost Darren Bent [to injury] but if you look at the names and quality of their players, they are a threat to everybody.
on whether previous victories against Villa will lift the side…
[The FA Cup win] can lift our side because it gives us belief that, no matter what happens, we can comeback.
And at Villa Park, I remember Benayoun scoring the winner from a corner, which is something you don’t expect. That brought us two important extra points on the night and against Everton we again scored from a corner. It all goes against the idea that we are not good on set-pieces. Benayoun is a technical player and you don’t expect him to score a header. But on the night we were very grateful.
Arsenal – Robin van Persie – The Dutchman has been in fine form in recent weeks, most recently in the Premier League with a goal against Newcastle. Although he failed to score from great chances last week hopefully he can rediscover his goal-scoring touch.
Aston Villa – Gabriel Agbonlahor – While the Englishman has been in poor form in recent weeks, no doubt he will want to rediscover the form he had at the start of the campaign
Sagna Koscielny Vermaelen Gibbs
Chamberlain Ramsey Gervinho
Van Persie (c)
William Hill are offering odds of 4/11 for the Gunners to win at the Emirates
Skybet are offering the best odds at 4/1
Aston Villa to win:
Powerpaddy and William Hill are offering odds of 9/1 for Villa to win away.
allArsenal’s Special Bet:
allArsenal’s Special Bet: Correct score: Arsenal 3-0 = 8/1