Aston Villa v Arsenal: Match Preview

Possibly Arsenal’s biggest match of the season
Venue: Villa Park    Date: Friday, 26 December Kick-off: 1715 GMT

Arsenal's Abou Diaby and Aston Villa's Gareth Barry battle for the ball

Arsenal Likely Line Up (4-4-1-1)

Almunia(c)
Sagna – Gallas – Djourou – Clichy
Eboue – Denilson
– Song – Nasri
Diaby
Van Persie

Subs from: Fabianski, Silvestre, Vela, Ramsey, Wilshere, Toure, Bendtner,

Aston Villa Likely Line Up (4-5-1)

Friedel
Cuellar – Knight – Davies
– L. Young

Milner
– Petrov – Barry(c)SidwellA. Young
Agbonlahor

Subs from: Aston Villa (from): Guzan, Reo-Coker, Laursen, Shorey Harewood, Gardner, Salifou, Delfouneso, Osbourne

Injury Doubts: Cuellar, Laursen

Form Guide: Arsenal (5th) W9 D4 L5= 31 points  Aston Villa (3rd): W10 D4 L4= 34 points

Tactics Talk: 4-5-1 or 4-4-2?
Arsene Wenger may decide to play Vela for his first Premiership start of the season or Diaby behind Van Persie though the Gunners were defeated at home last time they played the system against Villa. O’Niell is sweating on the fitness of defenders Cuellar and Laursen, the former a major doubt as Reo-Coker and Knight are in contention respectively if they are out.

Suffocate Space
The five man midfield will look to deny space and any gaps for Arsenal and it could be congested in the centre of the Villa Park pitch. The wide men and Agbonlahor will look to pressure Arsenal early as they did in their 2-0 win, suffocating space for the defence to pass out and win the ball early. If the Gunners get past the first wave they will have to contend with next, breaking in numbers with pace if they do get the ball. Having said that, at home Villa are likely to play with more freedom.

Gunners need to gel quickly
Injuries have affected the squad but there is still enough quality even if there is an unfamiliar look about it. Van Persie and Diaby will need to strike up a good combination while in the centre of midfield a more disciplined performance will be required. Denilson should fill the role of Fabregas although previous partnerships between the two have seen a shared role. If Knight plays his lack of mobility could be Aston Villa’s weakness but nevertheless it should be a tight contest.

Key Men: Denilson (Arsenal) and Gareth Barry (Aston Villa)

Prediction: Aston Villa 1-2 Arsenal

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4 thoughts on “Aston Villa v Arsenal: Match Preview

  1. I cant imagine how Van Persie would do up front alone. I would play:

    Fabianski
    Sagna JD Gallas Clichy
    Denilson Song
    Nasri
    RvP Bendtner Vela.

  2. It would be great if he plays Aaron Ramsey somewhere in that midfield. I think the midfield seriously lacks creativity. Also, I dont think RVP will be played alone up front. Lets hope Arsenal are able to face the rough challenges that Aston Villa will be delivering.

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