By Bulldog Drummond
Quite a big day for the Untold Collective: Andrew, Walter, Blacksheep and Tony all at the game together. Untold doesn’t manage that very often.
And glory be, what a difference a few weeks makes. From the December doom gloom and doom and gloom and we are finished, to this, in the Guardian:
Arsenal… are full of goals and full of confidence having won four in a row, including a 2-0 triumph at Manchester City.
So there we are, not a club in crisis, not a club who won’t buy the players we need. And the cause of our previous crisis was – injuries, just as Untold told you.
So the player news for the match is that Alexis Sanchez needs a rest because of a tight hamstring, while on the table getting the treatment are Welbeck (now thought to be back next week, he starts training on monday), Oxlade-Chamberlain (about two weeks), Wilshere (sometimes in March), Arteta (April), Debuchy (also April). Gnabry seems to be training away, and will be in contention soonish.
For the visitors my information is naturally more patchy, but we might not see Agbonlahor, Cole, Delph or our old chum, Senderos. We for sure won’t see Vlaar or Kozak.
Personally I can’t see Gabriel Paulista doing much other than sitting on the beach and running up and down a bit to big cheers, while we see if the guys who do such things have found a song with the word Gabriel in it.
Of course we don’t need reminding what Villa can do to us at the Stadium Wenger, just as they don’t need reminding what we can do to them in Birmingham.
We’ve lost only once at home since Aston Referee beat us at the start of last season – that being to Manchester Untidy. But the current run is rather jolly. Four wins in a row, with three sheets that have been washed in Persil.
And it is eight hours and 42 minutes since an Aston Referee league goal. 20 December was the date. Oh how they will jump about if they score against us, but if we are four up maybe we can let them have won.
For despite all the torment at the Stadium Wenger, the fact is that Arsenal have lost just three of the last 32 league meetings with Aston Villa.
The actual detail (if that is what you are after) is won 20, drawn 9 and lost 3. So it doesn’t take much to work out that those three defeats have come later rather than earlier.
Leaving aside the various cup games we have played we have a league record of won five, drawn one, lost one in the last seven, which is not bad by and large.
Olivier Giroud who is certain to be playing unless he trips over something that shouldn’t have been left on the floor, has scored four goals in his last five league appearances, which is why Untold has repeatedly dared to compare the goal scoring ability of Giroud with Mr Henry.
In those past days of glory we had Henry and Pires scoring the goals, now we have Giroud and Alexis, and we have only just started seeing glimpses of Theo.
Perhaps the big difference however is that we now have Santi Cazorla who has scored five goals in eight games. Not bad.
And speaking of goalscoring Alexis Sanchez has scored more game in the league this season than Aston Villa. Villa have 11. Which is interesting when we remember that back in September Villa were challenging for top position in the league – after beating Liverpool away. Indeed since mid September they have only won twice in 18 league matches (W2, D6, L10).
And now they have gone seven league matches without a win, scoring just once. If they don’t score today, they will have gone six league games in a row without a goal for the first time ever.
As for away games they have only got four away goals this season, and not scored twice away since the 2-2 draw at Liverpool on 18 January 2014
Gabriel Paulista makes a headed clearance