Aston Villa vs. Arsenal, Preview: Steady on, Villa

Stu Forster

After last week's defeat at Manchester City, Paul Lambert would do well to keep his attack unchanged. This is an Arsenal side that can be disarmed, if he trusts his Villans.

So...Arsenal. Are we Aston Villa supporters meant to be full of hope? It's hard to feel that way after last week's horrible 5-0 defeat at Manchester City. But if we separate the name from the actual club, the sense of forbidding might go down a bit.

Sure, the Gunners beat Tottenham Hotspur last week, an impressive 5-2 victory in the North London Derby. But who knows what might have happened had Emmanuel Adebayor, the first goalscorer, not been sent off in the 18th minute. That gave Arsenal an awful lot of time to run riot over 10-man Spurs.

Looking at the Fulham match, two weeks ago, might bring a bit more comfort. You remember that one? That's when Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski gave Arsenal a 2-0 lead by the 23rd minute. But Dimitar Berbatov and Alexander Kacaniklic had leveled by halftime, and the ultimate result was a 3-3 draw.

This is an Arsenal of ups and downs, a squad that has managed to not score in three matches, and score just once in three others. But then there's the other side of the coin -- last week's match, the 3-1 over West Ham United, and the 6-1 over Southampton. The Arsenal we're looking for is the one that's shown up in their defeat to Norwich, or against Manchester United. We'll even take the one against Queens Park Rangers, in which the Gunners barely edged a win.

What the Villa must do in this match is put aside the horrors of last weekend. The side -- the attack, at least -- managed to look bright even against the dogged Sunderland, and were fantastic against United. Although Darren Bent is fit again, it's unlikely he'll start, and he shouldn't. The promising front three, Gabby Agbonlahor, Christian Benteke and Andreas Weimann, deserve another chance to prove their worth, as do Barry Bannan and Stephen Ireland behind.

Pressuring Arsenal is going to disarm them much more quickly than sitting back and trying to defend -- not that this is a route Paul Lambert chooses very often. But even a shift to two up front, and a more holding midfield, could trip up the Villa, not giving them enough opportunities to make the visitors' lives hell.

Of course, the concern remains the defense. Eric Lichaj is healthy again, but do we really think he deserves to replace Enda Stevens in the back? Either way, there's going to be a weakness on the left, exploitable by a wide number of Arsenal players, depending on which names Arsene Wenger pulls out of a hat. And there's always that fear of set-pieces, a common occurrence when our defense panics. The Gunners aren't the best at them, but Giroud's a threat, as is Per Mertesacker.

Ok, I don't think I'm actually being reassuring by writing this preview. Get out the whisky and settle in for a nervy 90 minutes.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join 7500 To Holte

You must be a member of 7500 To Holte to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at 7500 To Holte. You should read them.

Join 7500 To Holte

You must be a member of 7500 To Holte to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at 7500 To Holte. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9353_tracker