Aston Villa v Arsenal: Preview and prediction

As it stands today, we are two points and three places off fourth place with a game in hand over Spurs and Liverpool, but by the time we kick off on Wednesday it might be that three points against Arsenal only moves us up to sixth. I say this because Spurs and Liverpool both play tomorrow and both will fancy they can get three points. I'll be hoping the both lose, but that is just my thing.

If they both lose (I might have a bet on them both to win), we could move up to fourth place by beating Arsenal. I know I seem to be saying this a lot at the moment, but this is an important game and I am sure that Martin O'Neill will approach this completely focused and unaffected by how well we are doing in the FA Cup and League Cup.


But, it is possible, while the manager will be completely focused on this match, that we see a change or two from the expected starting eleven. I say 'expected starting eleven' because we have sort of become used to the managers preferred eleven, but after the weekend, I think it is possible that one or two players might have done enough to make the manager think about giving a player or two another start, to see if they can carry it into the next match.

I will no doubt be wrong and O'Neill will start with who we expect, but there is a chance. I hope for the chance but O'Neill will not get blamed if he plays who we expect and we lose as this is an Arsenal side looking very good at the moment and if they get three points on Wednesday they will go top.

It was only a few weeks ago that we went to Arsenal and lost and on the day I put it down to our lack of fluidity. In truth, it was we sat back too much and the introduction of Fabregas for a few minutes.

But and this is why I think we might have a change or two from the expected starting eleven, we will be going into this game full of confidence. I think we have an opportunity to take a risk and we might see one or two changes because when you have that confidence, sometimes it needs to be let loose.

Prediction

I'm going to be sitting on the fence in this match, okay, I'm not. I think we can win it and the bookmakers are not that confident Arsenal will win either. We are 2/1 at Paddypower and Arsenal are 13/10. The draw comes in at 12/5 so they think there will be a result and while Arsenal are the favourites, it isn't by much.

I just think we have it in us to beat them and while I wouldn't be surprised if they beat us, they haven't done the double over us since 2004/05 and I think we are better than that now and having beaten Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United this season, three points against Arsenal will be a nice scalp to add to the season.