Time for a revenge for Arsenal or can Aston Villa replicate their opening game success against the Gunners? Arsenal travel to Villa park to face Aston Villa in the hope to get back at the top of the table as Chelsea moved to the top yesterday thanks to their 2-0 win over Hull City. The Gunners need to do exactly the same and avoid their early season blushes, however the Gunners have won the last 14 at Villa Park and are clear favourites ahead of the Monday’s game.
As Hull suffered a defeat at the KC Stadium against Chelsea, a win in favour of Paul Lambert’s side would head them into the top half.
Although, the Gunners are injury plagued at the moment, it has not stopped their momentum. After their home draw against Chelsea, Arsenal have managed to win three games in a row and head into the match on the back of a 2-0 win over rivals Tottenham in the 3rd round of the FA cup.
The Gunners will miss their key forward Theo Walcott, with the Englishman being sidelined for the next six months and set to miss World Cup in Brazil.
Nevertheless the return of five key Gunner players will boost up the North Londoners, as Arsene Wenger claims Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil are game fit. Club’s top scorer with 13 goals this season, Aaron Ramsey and left-back Kieran Gibbs who has failed to play this year due to calf problems are said to be ‘very close‘. (As per Arsene Wenger’s official team news report)
The man named to step into Walcott’s shoes Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has been injured since the two clubs‘ last meeting, is on the verge of entering Wenger’s starting squad on Monday.
“It is unbelievable because he played the first game of the season, against Aston Villa, and now he is back and available and it is against Aston Villa again. That makes it five months where has been completely out, so that means he is fresh and that should give us a boost,” stated the French manager.
Hosts will welcome back goalkeeper Brad Guzan and striker Gabriel Agbonlahor, who after missing the cup tie, have now shaken off their injuries. Christian Benteke has totally lost his form this season, failing to find the net since September 2013, however if the Belgian forward managed to break down his awful record in this big clash against Arsenal it could be the key factor to bring success to Villa. Defenders Ron Vlaar and Nathan Baker will under go a late fitness test.
Aston Villa (Possible, 4-4-2): Guzan; Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Luna; Bacuna, Westwood, Delph, Weimann; Benteke, Agbonlahor
Arsenal (Possible, 4-2-3-1): Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Arteta, Flamini; Rosicky, Wilshere, Cazorla; Giroud
Stats compiled from eurosport.yahoo.com
Aston Villa 0-2 Arsenal
Lucas Podolski has lately presented an impressive match on the Boxing Day showing he is back in form after a long-term injury and is the man to push the Gunners forward on Monday.
But still the night for Aston Villa will much depend on the performance of Agbonlahor who is the leading player for Paul Lambert’s men. If the forward managed to show outstanding pace and efficency, his team could surprise the North Londoners.