Remember the opening game of last season? Remember the final whistle? The feeling of angst and anger following the disappointment of losing 1-3 to Villa pervaded the club. Perhaps that atmosphere created the determination which drove us to be top at Xmas (brilliantly predicted by Rocky Lives).
What has changed since then?
Ozil, Alexis, Chambers, Bellerin, Ospina, Welbeck, Debuchy. Quite an ensemble. Are we better? The points tally would say No.
I would be shocked if Villa scored 3 times this afternoon – they have been through difficult times, scoring just 11 goals – 9 less than the next worst (Hull), 28 less than The Arsenal and have scored one goal or less in their last 19 away games! Yet, their last game showed improvement, Villa beat high-flying Bournemouth in the FA Cup.
Lambert is yet another of the hyped managers who have been trumpeted by the media as the next big thing; like Laudrup, Clarke, AVB etc etc he is proving how difficult the PL can be. Do you think that if Mr Wenger managed Aston Villa they would be a better club and team? Of course they would.
Having won our last 4 games with increasing panache the portents are definitely for an Arsenal win but I have been supporting this team for too long to take a win for granted. This will not be a walkover – Villa have some excellent players; Benteke would flourish at The Emirates, Delph is a better Coquelin, the goal from new-signing Gil shows he is a talent, their defence is strong especially at CB. Beating them will require Arsenal to be in top form.
Enough of them, what about us? Selection is interesting as the long-term injured return to fitness and the first team. To Ozil or not? To Walcocott or not? To drop the excellent Rosicky or not? Ospina or TPIG? etc etc
Here’s my tuppence worth. Defence: Ospina has to start. Then it is Chambers or Bellerin. Given the pace of Villa’s attack (Ang-backdoor etc) I would start Bellerin. CB pick themselves. Monnreal desrves to keep his place after a good run of form.
Coquelin or Flamini? Coq deserves to continue. Tomas or Aaron? Sorry Mozart, but Aaron is essential. As wonderful as Tomas is I prefer the youth and power of Ramsey. Cazorla is undroppable, which leaves the attack.
Given the absence of Alexis I would play Ozil, OG and Theo.
Can you name all the managers of English clubs who have won the European Cup? Have a try.
Clough is easy, so is Paisley, SAF, Busby,. You may struggle with Fagan’s Liverpool or to remember it was Di Matteo who lifted Big Ears with Chelsea. But if I told you that Aston Villa have won the European Cup could you recall their manager without Googling? No? Neither could I 😀 (answer below)
Given yesterday’s results and the improvement in form of both the Knuckle-Draggers and the Hub-Cap Barons we need to in today. If we don’t it will be a huge disappointmet. But we will.
Too depressed watching yet another England batting collapse to write more.
written by Big Raddy
(AV manager who lifted Big Ears was Tony Barton.)