Arsenal 3-0 ASTON VILLA
Cesc Fabregas showed just what it takes to be considered in the bracket of world class. In a 27 minute master show the Spaniard came on in the second half and put two goals past Friedel to send Villa back to earth with a bump. It was by no means a catastrophe for us as all this proved was that we can`t win every game.
LIVERPOOL 1-0 Wolves
Rafa picked up a much needed win following the red card of Stephen Ward which allowed Steven Gerrard & Yossi Benayoun to notch a couple of goals to secure the three points. It wasn`t a Liverpool performance of old but it was at least a much-needed win for the struggling scousers.
Likely Line Ups
The suspension of Ashley Young and Carlos Cuellar and the groin injury to Emile Heskey forces Martin O`Neill to change his starting line up for the first time in 5 games.
Defence: L. Young, Dunne, Collins, Warnock
Midfield: Milner, Petrov, Sidwell, Downing
Up Front: Carew, Agbonlahor
Mascherano is still suspended which could see the second start for Aquilani and Dirk Kuyt should be recalled the starting line up following his rest on boxing day against Wolves.
Defence: Johnson, Agger, Aurelio, Carragher
Midfield: Gerrard, Aquilani, Benayoun, Lucas,
Up Front: Torres, Ngog
Mascherano (medial ligament)
Steve Sidwell / Nigel Reo-Coker: Which ever gets the nod in this game will be sure to come under severe scrutiny come the end of the 90 minutes. This is their time to shine with the suspension of Ashley Young and will either take their chance? I would prefer to see NRC come into the mix as he was a main reason of the 3-1 victory at Anfield this season.
Steven Gerrard: Not had his best of seasons, but when Gerrard performs, Liverpool perform. The midfield will have to shackle Gerrard to control the game.
Referee: Peter Walton
Assistant Referees: Nigel Bannister & Stuart Burt
Fourth Official: Mike Jones
I don`t need to big up the intensity of this fixture as we all know it`s importance. A win is quite simply a must as we look to pick ourselves up after the Arsenal defeat. A victory will take us back into the top four and move 8 points clear of ‘title challengers` Liverpool.
Liverpool have an impressive record at Villa Park where they are unbeaten in 11 attempts (W6 D5) and Villa haven`t completed the double over Liverpool since the first Premier League season of 1992/93 when we finished runners up to Manchester United.
As Villa haven`t lost at home since the opening day of the season way back in August, and Liverpool have lost four of their last 6 away games only managing to score in two of those games.
This one really is way too hard to predict but I will go with a Villa win by sheer faith alone, but I wouldn`t be surprised if Liverpool do raise their game for this one.
Prediction Aston Villa 2-1 Liverpool