Aston Villa Preview: Goodbye Arteta, Flamini and Rosicky
After a long Premier League campaign, we are at the last game of the season, in front of the Emirates faithful, that have supported the team all season long. Some finally got to make their feelings known to the manager with organized protests and what have you, but today is about three stalwarts that will be bowing out after giving their blood, sweat and tears to the Red and White.
Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky and Mathieu Flamini made a combined total of 460 appearance for the club and were very influential members of the squad. Rosicky and Flamini were part of that fantastic four in midfield that almost won the Premier League in the 2007/08 season. Injuries halted Rosicky’s progress and it became a struggle with one injury or the other. Sadly, he never got to showcase his talent for a full campaign but his renaissance in the 2011/12 and 2012/13 season were breaths of fresh air for the Arsenal fans.
As for Matt Flamini, he grew from a fringe utility player to a defensive colossus that ousted Gilberto Silva from the team before he left for the riches of AC Milan. After five years in Italy, Arsene Wenger gave him a chance to resurrect his waning career and for the most part, he was a dependable holding midfielder.
Finally, club captain, Mikel Arteta – coolest head in the club, great personality, magnificent hair. Joined in a crisis period, shortly after the club got thrashed resoundingly by Manchester United. Gave the best part of five years to the club but the twilight of career was plagued by series of muscular injuries – an indication that his body couldn’t cope any longer with the rigors of Premier League football.
With already-relegated Aston Villa visiting the Emirates with their sights sets on SkyBet Championship football, it would be a great occasion to showcase the three stalwarts one final time in front of an appreciative crowd. To team selection, I expect Petr Cech to get the nod ahead of David Ospina and the defense will pretty much pick itself with Gabriel and Koscielny in the central defensive pairing while Hector Bellerin will continue his stint on the right hand flag. We could potentially see a left back berth for Kieran Gibbs but it’s highly unlikely.
In midfield, the El Neny – Ramsey combination could potentially be sacrificed to give way for either Arteta or Flamini, except if the boss wants to introduce them as substitutes. There is also a Santi Cazorla itching for some game having been out for quite a long time. According to the boss, Mesut Ozil has recovered from his hip problem and is available for selection. In attack, Welbeck’s injury has paved the way for Olivier Giroud to be the unanimous selection in attack and Theo Walcott will be lurking around too.
It promises to be a relaxing encounter.
Here’s to a good game of football.
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