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Friday, December 9, 2016

Garde Considers New Defender (and Wenger Approves) Ahead of Reunion with Gunners

Aston Villa vs Arsenal 2015

There was a moment during last weekend’s match against Southampton when it looked like Villa were getting some much-needed luck. In typical fashion however, Villa conceded a late-ish equaliser and ended up with a point.

Admittedly it wasn’t a terrible result, but all dropped points have significance given our position. Villa gained a point under the guidance of Garde against the last top four team to head to Villa Park – can he get a first Villa victory against his old manager?

Garde on Arsenal

“I am already working on the January window.

“We know what we want to do. I feel we will need to improve the team to get more chances (of staying up).

Experience is something we need. We are going to try to improve the team in the transfer window but we have other games to try to win and I am only focused on that.”

Wenger on Villa Cole rumours

“He has lost (Jordan) Amavi, and he is looking for a left-back.

“If one has strength of character and talent, of course Ashley Cole has made a fantastic career. He’s at the end of it.

“Can he again find the physical resources to produce positive impact at Aston Villa?

“I think if he’s free of injuries he can still do it, yes.”

Memory Match

30th May 2015 Aston Villa 0 Arsenal 4 (FA Cup Final)

Villa never really turned up against Arsenal as Sherwood’s men ended the season in disappointing fashion. The game is now seen as the beginning of the end for Villa.

Villa – Last five matches at home: D 1, L 4 

Arsenal – Last five matches away: W 3, D 1, L 1 

One to Watch

Olivier Giroud – The French striker has scored in each of his last four appearances against Aston Villa in all competitions

Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet

Arsenal must love visiting Villa Park.

Last season’s extraordinary capitulation (conceding three goals in as many minutes) was a shock to the system for Villa fans but in truth it summarised the general experience when Villa Park welcomes Arsenal. The season before that we conceded two at home against Arsenal in quick succession.

After ensuring progression to the next stage of the Champions League, Arsenal will be in the mood for goals on Sunday. Despite a blip in league form, Arsenal have lost just twice during their last 14 league away games.

Such is their dominance at Villa Park,  they haven’t lost in their last 16 league visits and you have to go back to 1998 for the last time Villa beat the Gunners at home.

With rumours of Ashley Cole doing the rounds it does seem that the ‘lack of experience’ narrative lingers over the club, but some of the Villa players with plenty of Premier League matches to their name are letting us down at times.

Since becoming a regular in 2012-13, Guzan has conceded more goals in the Premier League than any other goalkeeper (202).

Last season Arsenal scored 12 goals against Villa (conceding none in the process). Considering we’ve conceded 8 goals in the last three matches, another cricket score could be likely.

you have to go back to 1998 for the last time Villa beat the Gunners at home.

What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide

Last week we called for more defensive solidity, the kind that was displayed in Garde’s debut Villa match.

To be fair, we saw that a little, and Villa did face an attacking onslaught from the Saints, coming away with some sort of result, at least.

Still, it’s frustrating when you think how the situation would be if we could hold onto a lead, especially as we’ve dropped 10 points from winning positions this season.

It’s not going to be easy against an Arsenal team who have scored in nine successive league matches, but the Ashley Cole rumours do at least suggest Garde has recognised Richardson’s unsuitability as main left back.

Despite this, we can’t really afford to be cautious at home to Arsenal. It’s a difficult one for Garde to ponder, but hopefully we see a mixture of the last two games in terms of attacking/defensive balance.

Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag

Arsenal are on a high at the moment and even the previously-maligned Joel Campbell has picked up plaudits.

That doesn’t change the fact that Arsenal have won just one of their last four league games, something which has perhaps been overlooked by their European progress.

It seems strange to look towards West Brom for a good omen, but a recent visit to the Midlands for the Gunners saw a 2-1 loss at the Hawthorns. (We’ll clutch at any straw at this point!). Plus, they 1-1 recently away to Norwich City.

The TV build up will be making a lot of Garde’s Arsenal connection (he made 31 appearances for the club between 1996-99) and it might be the case that Remi can use familiarity with this weekend’s opponents to our advantage.

So let’s forget about the history books. Hopefully we build on last weekend’s OK result and get a desperately needed win against Arsenal at home.

We did it in 1998, after all…

For some Villa betting ideas, check out MOMS Tips

UTV.

Follow Lewis on Twitter – @rymondfootball

Follow MOMS on Twitter – @oldmansaid

 

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