By Bulldog Drummond.
Shock headline of the day… “Premier League injuries: Neither Arsenal or Manchester United are missing the most players.”
Tony has put a limit on the number of times we are allowed to say “We did that” in terms of what Untold has achieved, but since that limit is 8,354 times per article I can safely say it. That line comes from the Guardian’s preview of the game. Before we came along the headline would have been “Arsenal injury crisis gives Villa a strong chance”.
And if we are buoyant at another little victory, think what our Arsène is feeling. Actually he’s probably got feet firmly on the ground (or in the air if the squad is driving from the training centre to the laughably called London Luton Airport, flying to Birmingham and then getting the coach.)
Anyway we enter this game knowing Giroud can score, as if we didn’t know that, and that we’re in the Champs League draw on Monday when we will get either Real Mad or the Barcelona Children Scandal.
And of course after a great victory come awful defeat. For example, we beat Tottenham 0-5 at their place one Christmas and then immediate lost at home to West Brom 1-2. But that was 1978 and this is now (or so I am told).
As Mr Wenger said, “We have Walcott, Giroud and Sánchez that can all score goals. And they all have different styles, which is very important as well.” Untold has said that as well, but we can’t claim credit on that one since it is rather obvious. Although not so obvious that the press have never been able to see that you can either have one dominant centre forward who scores most of your goals (Wright) a forward and a winger who intertwine and leave the opposition tangled up in Notts County [that should be knots of course – it is a silly joke – Tony] or you can have three so that the opposition don’t know where the next approach is coming from. The latter works particularly well if you have Özil behind them.
So Giroud has 10 goals in his past 12 matches. And now Theo is back – two of our three strikers on the pitch. And that Campbell fellow looks rather nifty both as a scorer and as a assistant. Clever chap, that Mr Wenger, to spot that.
Thus we have the old friends: Rémi , who was Arsène’s first signing, made while he was still in Japan, and Our Arsène. Of this game Mr Wenger said of his old chum, “He has to tighten up his defence to restore the team’s confidence. I expect a more physical match with a lot of commitment and a big emphasis on the defensive aspects.”
Our team probably looks a bit like this
Campbell Özil Walcott
Monreal Koscielny Mertesacker Bellerin
On the beach in the glorious Birmingham winter sun will be seven of Ospina, Macey, Debuchy, Chambers, Gibbs, Gabriel, Iwobi, Reine-Adelaide, Oxlade-Chamberlain
Aston V have gone 14 league games without a win which is a club record. Our all time record for this was 19, from 28 September 1912 to 15 January 1913 in the season of relegation, which you’ll also recognise as the season of packing up the heritage in boxes and moving to Highbury.
But of course it is now written in law that we can’t do previews without the injury chart. Our not-quite-there list with expected return dates is
- Sánchez (21 December)
- Arteta, (2 January)
- Wilshere (Jananary)
- Rosicky (January)
- Welbeck (February)
- Coquelin (March)
- Cazorla (April)
|10||West Ham United||5|
|19||West Bromwich Albion||2|
To my mind what is interesting is that Chelsea have just one injury – (Falcao) – and yet they are below Bournemouth in the league. They can’t even say, “when we get our players back then you’ll see.” Actually they can say that because they tend not to pay much attention to detail in south west London, but you know what I mean.
|13||West Bromwich Albion||15||5||4||6||14||19||-5||19|
The first ever game between the two was on 8 October 1904 and it ended Woolwich Arsenal 1 Aston Villa 0.
Some more bits and pieces
- Villa have not won at home in eight – equalling their longest ever record.
- Villa have lost 23 league games this year. Ipswich hold the Premier League record for defeats in a calendar year, losing 26 games in 1994. Villa have four to play in 2015.
- Brad Guzan is, in terms of goals scored, the worst keeper in the universe – well in the premier league – having let in 202 goals since he became Aston Villa’s first-choice goalkeeper in 2012-13.
But against that
- Arsenal have won only one of the last four league games, drawing 2 and losing one.
- We are still top of the league for 2015 calendar year with 72 points.
- We’ve scored in nine successive league games.
- We have created one new record this season: Most consecutive Premier League matches assisted in: 7, Mesut Özil 26 September to 21 November 2015
- We have only lost two of the last 14 away league games (W10, D2).
- Giroud has scored in each of his last four matches against Aston Villa.
- Giroud is one goal away from his 50th in the Premier League.
- Petr Cech is still just one behind David James’ record in terms of clean sheets.
The result: Aston Villa 1 Arsenal 3.
An Aston V anniversary
13 December 1998: Arsenal lost 3-2 away to table topping Aston Villa. Having taken a 2–0 lead, through two goals scored by Bergkamp, Arsenal let in three goals in the second half to lose the match. This debacle is followed by a 19 match unbeaten run, which took Arsenal to the edge of winning the championship themselves. This was the only game in which Arsenal conceded more than one goal all season.