Last week has been nothing short of a disaster for us as we head into today’s match desperately needing a win to put the things right. The beauty of it all is that we are still two points from the top and in all competitions.
No doubt it has been a bad week but still it doesn’t justify the way some fans have been responding. This is the time we have to get behind the team. We have been poor and our team has to respond but our support is vital to that. Our performance against Braga wasn’t good and we have to avoid a repeat of it. We have to forget the last week and get on with the rest of the games in a positive way. We can start that today by winning our match and going top of the table, even though for a short time.
For today we have no Fabregas due to hamstring, Eboue due to knee, Diaby due to ankle and Vermaelen due to achilles injury. Clichy, Almunina and Van Persie are doubtful. The rest are available.
Fabianski to retain his place in goal and I would like to see the same centre backs that were there against Braga. The reason being we need to stick with one pair now to establish some understanding among them as lately we haven’t stuck with a pair for more than a couple of games. Koscielny mainly has been more prone to errors of the three available so he should be benched. Djourou has improved a lot and he needs to feature regularly. Squillaci though not spectacular has been doing his job but he needs to improve. Sagna to come back in his favored place and Gibbs to start as left back.
In middle as we have got Fabregas out so one of Rosicky or Nasri to take his place. I would go with Rosickyinthe middle and keeping Nasri on the right where he has been doing great. Wilshere to retain his place and Song to play in the holding role.
Upfront Chamakh to start as Van Persie is still doubtful and Bendtner is doing a lot of talking without end product. Bendtner had an opportunity to shine but he didn’t take it and now he would have to wait for another chance. Arshavin to return after his rest on the left and Nasri to start on the right.
Probable team: Fabianski, Sagna, Squillaci, Djourou, Gibbs, Song, Rosicky, Wilshere, Nasri, Chamakh, Arshavin.
It is a big game today and we have enough quality to get the three points but we have to play hard for the whole 90 minutes. What we did in the last two matches is not acceptable. We cannot switch off today at any time in the game. Our trips to Villa have been good in the past but they have never been easy games and it won’t be easy today.
We will have to mix it up today as we have been very predictable. Villa will know what to do. They can defend well and when the opportunity arrives hit a good counter. What they did against Man Utd was impressive and they can repeat that today. What we need is to maintain our focus and not let them play their game.
I am not predicting anything as the last few games have taught us that you can expect anything from Arsenal. Still I am gunning for a win. Let’s hope the team plays its heart out.