Well, the fans have giving the team a good kicking this week, we can only hope they pass it on to Aston Villa this afternoon.
We are always unlucky about meeting a team as they are in good from and today is no exception. Given last season’s miserable performances it was more likely that Lambert would be sacked rather than make his young team into the formidable opponents they will be post kick-off. Fair play to the man.
Or could it be his assistant who has engendered this startling change of form? Keane doesn’t like Arsenal, never has. He does however respect The Arsenal and has been involved in may victories over us. Has he learned from Surralex? I am convinced he has and expect to see Villa play the same way MU did when they could beat us … that is, with violence. Not just violence but cunning violence. Expect the game to start with a flurry of nasty tackles on our creative players (rotational of course). How the game develops from here will depend upon two things
1. How our delicate flowers respond to a bit of aggressive pruning (just for you Peaches :-) )
2. The strength of the referee. Today we are blessed with Mike Jones.
Before discussing Jones may I remind you of how the referee affected the game in our opening fixture last season. Anthony Taylor was so poor he was demoted – deservedly so. Do you recall how he waved play on after a TPIG foul in the area and then when Agbonglahor missed gave a penalty (which they scored)
Where was I? Ah yes, Mike Jones. Last season in 32 games he gave out 108 yellows and 3 reds. Yes, you read that right! This season after 3 games 10 yellows and one red. This chap is card happy. Will this be a good thing this afternoon? The stats do not show whether he is affected by the home crowd as so many refs are. We must hope not and that he continues to brandish yellow each time one of AV’s thugs ploughs through the back of our heroes.
We welcome the return of Big Phil. A player I have always liked – not Arsenal quality but a top bloke and one of Peaches faves. Alongside Vlaar he makes a fine CB partnership and with two quality FB’s Villa have become very difficult to break down. Especially as they have a busy midfield with Delph showing just why he was so highly rated as a teenager at Leeds.
Upfront, they rely upon pace which is not good news for BFG. Breakaway goals are an AV speciality and we can only hope the lessons of Tuesday night have been learned. We cannot afford to be too gung-ho.
Arsenal: Please, please play Oxlade-Chamberlain today. I don’t care who gets dropped, we need his energy and drive.
The difficulty as I see it is how does a player recover from a bad bout of form without playing? Ramsey is one of our best players but of late has been completely anonymous (apart from scoring two vital goals 😃 ). Can Mr Wenger drop him? Can he drop Ozil? Of course he can but will he?
Can Sanchez play twice a week given the amount of energy he expends during a game? Or Welbeck, who has covered more ground in 3 games than Giroud does in 6.
This is a tough team to guess but let’s try
I am excited to see Chambers get a run in the position he was bought for. Once again we have a powerful bench though lacking in defensive possibilities
Being in the Midlands the food I associate with Villa is always a curry – so I will choose one of my favourite dishes, a Daal Makhani. I read that one of the best can be purchased at the Sanskrit in Stratford Rd.. Add in a Paneer Marsala and a few breads and you are assured a veritable eating extravaganza.
All it needs is a chilled Lager
Birmingham is home to a host of famous drink and food brands. Typhoo tea, Birds Custard, Bournville cocoa, Cadbury’s chocolate and HP sauce all originate in Brum.
Can we win today? Of course. Our team will be desperate to absolve themselves after the Dortmund Debacle. If it goes tit’s up it will not be because of lack of effort. We have attacking talent in spades, our defence will be augmented by the excellent Gibbs, and we have a fine record at Villa Park
written by Big Raddy