Aston Villa Preview: Keep the Guns Blazing, No Goal for Emile Heskey
Arsenal has certainly caused their critics to return back to their lairs in shame and silence. A win this evening would see equal a record they had in 2007; seven straight league wins.
The Gunners are topping the form table with more W’s than the amount found before opening a website (www) while Aston Villa are in a patchy run of three draws, two defeats and a win in their last six games.
Aston Villa placed themselves in the history books by being the first team to draw at the Emirates and they have gained more points (8) at the Emirates than any other opponent. Aston Villa have won two and lost just one of their five Premier League visits to the Emirates after going 12 without a win at Highbury and losing the last eight in a row.
When these sides met in the FA Cup, it was a game of two halves as Aston Villa were in the front seat in the first 45 minutes while Arsenal ran the show in the next 45.
Aston Villa took the lead from a well executed training move that caught Arsenal on the back foot. After some intricate passing from a corner kick, Robbie Keane lobbed the ball into the 6-yard box and Richard Dunne rose the highest to head the ball home. Dunne will miss today’s tie with an injury.
The visitor compounded the home team’s misery late on when a swift counter attack saw Darren Bent drill his shot past Fabianski on his second attempt after initially forcing a good save from the Pole. Bent will also miss today’s game with an injury that has sidelined him for the rest of the season.
Aaron Ramsey atoned for an earlier miss when he was hacked down by Dunne in the box. Up stepped van the Man to send Given the wrong way. In a few minutes, Arsenal leveled the contest courtesy of a freak goal by Theo Walcott.
Arsenal’s 3rd goal and match clincher arrived when Laurent Koscielny made one of his slalom runs forward after a brilliant one-two with Alex Song. He was scythed down in the box by Darren Bent leaving the man with the whistle no choice. Van Persie stepped up again to smash in goal number 25 for the season.
Arsenal lost the next FA Cup fixture to Sunderland in their putrid pitch but the Gunners have been in fine form since that painful exit, sweeping aside the likes of Tottenham, Liverpool, AC Milan amongst others.
Tottenham visit Stamford Bridge today and many expect Twitchy Ol’ ‘Arry’s side to drop more points, leaving some room for Arsenal to extend the gap.
To injury news, Jack Wilshere (ankle), Abou Diaby (hamstring), Sebastian Squillaci (groin) and Francis Coquelin (hamstring) are nearing a return to fitness, but are not expected to make a comeback before the end of March.
To team news, Wojciech Szczesny will continue in goal and he would be boosted by his clean sheet at Goodison Park. He didn’t have much to do on Wednesday night but he responded well when he was called upon.
Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny put up stellar performances against Everton and they’ve been lauded by their manager:
Defensively they are not the tallest but they have a fantastic leap and both of them have good pace. Vermaelen looks like a frustrated centre forward because he has the timing to get into the box as well.
Le Professeur surely has a way with words. Vermaelen has scored a couple of goals since his arrival from Ajax. I can’t recall many strikers that would’ve scored his amazing curling effort against Wigan. I’m very sure that Aston Villa’s Emile Heskey wouldn’t.
The Verm and Bosscielny will be supported by Bacary Sagna and Kieran Gibbs. Andre Santos can get his shot against QPR next week.
Song will continue his consistent performance in the middle of the park and he’ll be supported by Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky. It’s worth noting that Mikel Arteta has the most attempted passes in the Premier League with 1892.
Robin van Persie has scored three penalties against Aston Villa this season and I won’t mind one more today. He’ll be supported by Theo Walcott and the Ox. I don’t think that Ramsey will be handed a start today.
Predicted Starting Line-Up
Sagna, Kos, Verm, Gibbs
Song, TR7, Arteta
Walcott, RVP, Ox
Enjoy the match wherever you are.
I can bet that Emile Heskey won’t score a goal against us today. This video paints the picture vividly
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