ASTON VILLA 1-0 Stoke City
After away wins at Manchester United and Sunderland, Villa returned home to take on Stoke City. Stoke last season caused us untold problems and in truth were probably the start of our demise. This could have caused a lot more problems than it did but after Villa’s brilliant wins, the high level of confidence saw us through. Stoke were being their awkward normal selves but a tough defence stood up allowing Carew to turn in the winner from an Ashley Young cross.
ARSENAL 3-0 Hull City
Hull seemed to be holding Arsenal at bay for the first half until Denilson put them one up in the last minute of first half injury time. During the second half Arsenal confirmed their superiority with a further two goals to seal the win. Almunia saved a penalty from Nicky Hunt that could have equalized for Hull and the game was marred by a mass brawl after Nasri stamped on the foot of Garcia.
Likley Line Ups
Barring Heskey’s groin injury, O’Neill should again field an unchanged side. Martin has recently stated that he will be looking to use the full depth of the squad over the coming games but I’m guessing it won’t be starting here. Villa should be the same strong line up that has been performing so brilliantly of late.
Defence: L. Young, Dunne, Cuellar, Warnock
Midfield: Downing, Petrov, Milner, A. Young
Up Front: Agbonlahor, Carew
Arsenal have a long injury list so this could mean that Arsenal to should field an unchanged side and with Eduardo out of sorts at the moment, the Arsenal front line is looking quite depleted. Leading goal scorer and assist leader Fabregas returns though.
Defence: Eboue, Vermaelen, Gallas, Silvestre
Midfield: Song, Denilson, Diaby, Fabregas
Up Front: Eduardo, Arsharvin
Van Persie (Ankle)
Agbonlahor: The England hopeful likes these big games. He is really beginning to develop his name for himself as a big game player and the stage is all set up again for him now. With Van Persie out due to his long lay off, then Gabby has a chance to grab the headlines once again.
Arsharvin: The most dangerous man in the Arsenal squad. Even including Fabregas & Van Persie. He’s an extremely dangerous playmaker with a lightning quick though process that enables him to get lightning shots off. Dunne & Cuellar will have to be in top form to keep him quiet.
It could be a weekend of records for Aston Villa.
A win would see match their winning record of 5 games set in 1996, and a clean sheet would match the 1998 record of 5 consecutive cleans sheets.
Most importantly, a win would see Villa become the first team to beat each of the top four in a single season since Leeds United did so in the 1994-95 season.
We’re in great form at the moment and with Arsenal missing the deadly Van Persie up front this could be another giant scalp for Aston Villa. Arsenal though, worry me more so than when I was doing the Manchester United head to head. Don’t know why, but there’s just something about Arsenal that make them dangerous. They have attacking talent in abundance and can be deadly in a counter attack.
Sounds like I’m describing Villa here so maybe this is how teams are beginning to feel when teams come up against us.
After beating them at the Emirates last year, and then coming back from a two goal deficit at Villa Park in this fixture (the same time as last year funnily enough) on top of the rich vein of form Villa are in at the moment should prove the deciding factor.
I’m guessing this will be a game of defences with the winning team sneaking a goal in the second half.
Could go either way but for me, I’m going for the Villa win.
Prediction… Arsenal 0-1 Aston Villa