Arsenal travel to Villa park this Saturday on the back of two strong performances against rivals Tottenham and French champions Montpellier and will be on a high to face a Villa side that are placed at the wrong end of the table. Aston Villa are currently in 18th place in the relegation zone and just a point above Southampton.
With just 2 wins from the 12 league games and following a heavy defeat to Champions city last weekend, Paul Lambert and his team will be looking to get something out of the unpredictable Arsenal team. And Villa have to do this without their manager Lambert who has a one match man for blasting the match officials when an unjustified penalty was awarded to City during the game.
Meanwhile Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will be looking to extend his team’s good run of games in the recent weeks. With two back to back wins and a clean sheet last game, the Gunners will be confident ahead of the game. It is the perfect opportunity for the Gunners to get all three points, their fans are confident, newly recruited Giroud and Podolski are performing, Wilshere is getting back to his best.Ruthless Podolski against Montpellier
Aston Villa have won none of their last 13 Premier League home games against Arsenal (D6 L7).
There has been a goal scored in the 87th minute or later in seven of the last nine Premier League games between Arsenal and Villa.
Darren Bent has scored six goals in his last eight Premier League games against Arsenal and in his only FA Cup appearance against them last season for Villa.
Abou Diaby has scored four goals in six Premier League games against Villa; more than against any other opponent in the competition.
The Villans have won only two of their last 18 home games in the Premier League (W2 D7 L9).
The Gunners had lost just one of their previous 12 Premier League away games (W7 D4 L1) before losing their last two on the road against Norwich and Man Utd.
The only top-flight season in which Villa have had fewer points after 12 games than this season is 1964-65 (adjusted for three points for a win).
Arsenal’s last two Premier League games have produced a total of 13 goals.
Both teams have scored in seven of Arsenal’s last nine Premier League games.
Only Barcelona’s Xavi (1152) has made more passes than Mikel Arteta (1104) in Europe’s big five leagues this season.
Wenger gave the latest injury updates ahead of the game
Santos is out for 10 days with an abdominal strain. Oxlade-Chamberlain looks alright. Theo [Walcott] is out for Saturday, but has a chance for Wednesday at Everton.
Diaby – If all goes well, three to four weeks.
Rosicky – He should be back with us on Monday. He started in team training on Monday. Last year from January to the end of the season he was one of the most influential players in our squad. I hope he can repeat that because until now we haven’t seen him and he was injured at the European Championship. He has a similar injury to Scott Parker, they had operations at the same time and they will come back basically at the same time. It is very difficult [mentally] for him, because Tomas is a guy who loves to play, who is happy on a football pitch. When you have been injured as many times as he has been, it is not easy to take.
One major boost for Arsenal is the left back Keiran Gibbs has returned to the starting line-up from his injury which gives another selection headache for Wenger to decide between Vermaelen, Koscielny and Mertesacker for the two central defender positions. One would imagine that Vermaelen’s status as a captain will make him an automatic selection and with Mertesacker’s good run of games, he will be preferred ahead of Koscielny who himself has been brilliant.
As far as the midfield and forward line – up, there wont be any changes unless Wenger decides to pick Gervinho ahead of Chamberlian.Aston villa vs Arsenal probable starting line up