By Billy the Dog McGraw
I have this week been running a campaign for Mr Adebayor to be transferred week by week from club to club so that he can play us every week. For some bizarre reason Sir Hardly Anyone, chair of the Premier League has not replied to my letters, but I am still hopeful.
Aston Villa are a team much admired by the AAA since they once won the European Cup, and won the FA Cup and League 142 times in the 18th and 19th century.
I visited my old chum Dennis Bergkamp at the Rock n Roll Allotment site, Enfield, where he has a plot, and we spoke of the game and the habit of Villa of reducing the number of seats allocated to away fans who stand from time to time. Apparently we are now down to 17 allocated seats (which is why it is still possible to buy tickets for the match).
Last year we won 2-1 in this game at a stroll and Dennis gave me the run down on the affair. Apparently Arsenal are the bookies’ favourite and Dennis has put two cauliflowers on them to win at 11-8 on. Sounds good enough for me.
Our time will be
Sagna Mertersacker Vermaelen Gibbs
Gervinho Giroud Podolski
Most importantly we must be wary of Weimann (who has a pet pony called Haddock) who has scored two goals this season already and is the Villa top scorer. Bent also has two.
On the beach we will have Mannone, Gnabry, Oxlade- Chamberlain, Ramsey, Djourou, Coquelin, Arshavin, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Gibbs,
Mr Walcott has as dubious shoulder until the end of the month, Mr Diaby has a dodgy thigh, Mr Santos has a stomach with a problem, Mr Rosicky seems never to be returning from his calf injury, and Mr Fabianski is out until next year.
As for our leading league scorers we have three players on four: Cazorla, Giroud, Podolski 4
We don’t lose to Villa, at least not since the Battle of Waterloo, and we always score in the last few minutes.
What we will have on the pitch is the person who makes the most passes in almost any league of significance – Mikel Artete who has knocked across over 1100 passes this season alone. In fact only one player in the major leagues outdoes him and that is Xavi Hernández who plays in the two team league that is Spain.
So what of Villa these days. They have lost four and won only one of their last six, which is actually worse than Arsenal as we make our way back up the league. But we’ve lost the last two aways which is not so good.It is on ESPN so a good idea to turn the sound right down before the match starts, unless you are one of the lucky few to get a ticket in the away end.
As a manager Paul Lambert is worthy of a word. He currently has a win ratio of 33% – his best ever was just under 50% at Norwich.
He started out at Livingston. He managed 32 games for the club, won five (two in the league) and was sacked
He then went to Wycombe Wanderers and in the League Cup semi final held Chelsea 1-1 in the home leg but he left after failing in the league two play offs.
Next up was Colchester where he was a mid-table manager but left within a year to go to Norwich. He took them to the League 1 title and promotion to the top league. But then the fun started. Colchester claimed and finally got £425,000 in compensation. Norwich were fined £75,000, with £125,000 suspended for two years for breaching the tapping up regulations. Then Norwich refused to allow Burnley to approach him as manager.He then resigned at the end of the last season, but his resignation was refused. Yet despite this and despite having only recently signed a new contract he signed as manager for Aston Villa!
Now his side are third from the bottom, two points below Wigan and safety. Lambert will be in the stands as he is currently banned from the touchline for ‘improper conduct’ at last week’s match.
Last three games
Arsenal 3 (Gibbs, Walcott, Arteta) Aston Villa 0, Premier League, March 2012
Arsenal 3 (van Persie 2, Walcott) Aston Villa 2, FA Cup, January 2012
Aston Villa 1 Arsenal 2 (van Persie, Benayoun), Premier League, December 2011
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