Arsenal-Aston Villa: Match Preview

Arsenal's Robin van Persie is a fine footballer, but he sure does look like an arrogant prick. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

Two games left. Two games of this terrifying, miserable, frustrating, sack of excrement of a season left. Aston Villa are all but guaranteed safety and thank God for that, because they'll close out the season with a trip to the Emirates and what promises to be an absolute horrorshow against Liverpool at Villa Park. Of course, if you think that there's a chance in the world Villa will actually play any of the players anyone wants to see tomorrow you clearly haven't been paying a lick of attention to Gary McAllister's tragicomedy of a caretaker manager's spell, and I have little doubt that we'll be up to our ears in Petrov, Dunne and Nigel Reo-Coker. I'd gladly take a severe beating with Barry Bannan, Ciaran Clark, Eric Lichaj, Marc Albrighton and even Michael Bradley being given a run out over a draw or lucky win featuring the same boring cast of characters because we already know what the veterans are capable of. We've been forced to watch them be mediocre to outrightly terrible all season long. What could we possibly stand to learn from watching Robin van Persie make our back line look like blathering idiots on numerous occasions?

The club ought to have a good idea of what to expect from the veterans by now and with little to lose and a great deal of movement to come over the summer months, shouldn't they have some desire to take at least a bit of stock in what they have in their youth? I'm resigned to seeing the same-old-same-old from McAllister's band of drooling morons tomorrow morning, but that doesn't mean I'm especially thrilled about it. Of the likely starters I think I'm invested in how well maybe three of them perform-those being Darren Bent, Stewart Downing and Nigel Reo-Coker-and I really couldn't possibly be less interested in anyone else. Ashley Young is almost certainly gone. Kyle Walker is probably off back to Spurs. Richard Dunne and James Collins aren't necessarily bad players on their own merits but the two of them together are a horrible fit for this team's system and we know what they're capable of in any case. Stiliyan Petrov is not aging well and isn't a big part of this club's future, and as much as love Emile Heskey the same could be said for him. Luke Young is Luke Young. What could anything about watching these players possibly teach us?

I care deeply for this club and I'm sure once the whistle blows to get things started I'll be invested in the game, but while I'm still capable of rational thought I think it's important to point out how much of an absolute waste of time this game is likely to be. We've achieved safety, and the number one priority for the remaining games should be figuring out how well prepared our younger players are at coping against a very high level of competition. But that won't happen, and it's frustrating as all hell. Many of these young players so many of us so desperately want to see in action were on the pitch against Manchester United when Villa somehow managed to take a point off of the Champions-To-Be. Why not give them a chance now, in a game you're probably going to lose anyway? I don't know. I wish I did. And I sure as hell hope I'm wrong.

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