Thursday, December 25, 2008

Game Plan - Aston Villa v Arsenal

Well on boxing day, all the crazy fans of Premier League will going to see one of the hot matches of the season between Arsenal v Aston Villa. Itz the battle between two of the finest football managers Wenger and O'Neil. Already Arsenal lost to Villa by 2-0 at Emirates and Villa will be looking towards to make it double on Wenger side. Arsenal will be without Fabregas and Adebayor which will cost them dearly. For Wenger and Arsenal fans the big real question is who will run the show in the absence of Fabregas and how Arsenal are going to stop the rocket speed pace from Ashley Young and Agbonlahor. Barry will be the man who will supply the huge number of balls to Young and Agbonlahor and Petrov will be doing the dirty works. Villa have a commanding defence in Cuellar, Davies and Laursen. So here i've a game plan for Arsenal...
I would definitely go with a 4-5-1 formation for this game. If we go out with just two centre midfielders, neither of them Fabregas, then we will be over run in the centre by Barry, Sidwell and Petrov who bossed us last game around. I actually think playing Diaby behind van Persie, with Denilson and Song sitting deeper, we would have a pretty combative midfield force, both physically and also in terms of skill and vision. I'm not leaving Bendtner on the bench because I prefer Eboue or anything like that, I just think it would be naive to go with a four man midfield without Fabregas to Villa Park, also Bendtner was totally 100% owned by the Villa centre halfs at the Emirates.On the wing, playing Eboue is necessary to provide Sagna with much needed cover against one of, imo the most dangerous players in the league in Young. We'll need Eboue tracking back against him the whole time, and Nasri will have to work hard too. Up front, van Persie is going to need alot of support from Diaby because Laursen and Davies have formed an excellent partnership, one that we will struggle against, so RvP is going to have to be at his sharpest to get anything out of them, imo. Nasri is going to have an important part to play because he up against Luke Young who he could cause alot of problems for, in theory, causing the CB's to pull apart, leaving space for Diaby.
Defensively, I don't think I need to point out how dangerous the likes of Young and Agbonlahor can be and Agbonlahor's performance at the Emirates is evidence of this. Djourou's pace should prove to suit us better than Silvestre's lack of when facing quick opposition such as Agbonlahor and Young. Also, his strong aerial pressence should prove an advantage in what will be a tough test against Carew. Another thing I notice is that Ashley Young does go down easily tbh, I'm not having a go at him, though I don't respect it, I'm mentioning it as a potential problem for us, especially as we are prone to making tackles that although aren't necessarily fouls, force the ref to make a call. Its something we need to watch.Overall, I can't say that I'm particularly confident about this game tbh. I know we're capable of winning but really it depends on which Arsenal team shows up mentally on the day. This is already a really tough game, but without Fabregas and Adebayor - obviously two of our most important players, we could struggle. But, I have faith in Wenger and there is alot to be positive about from the performances of Song, Diaby and Denilson after Fabregas and Ade went off and I know we can win... just really important that we play like a top four team because anything other than a win here leaves Villa three, or even six points ahead of us and also would leave us potentially 12 points off the top. Biggest game of the season?
My line-up would be:
Sagna - Gallas - Djourou - Clichy
Eboue - Denilson - Song - Nasri
van Persie

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