By Bulldog Drummond
Here are the injuries as always based on the report from physioroom.com
|Player||What’s up?||Notes||Return date||Playing v Villa|
|Alexandre Lacazette||Ankle/Foot Injury||“Alex will need to rest and strengthen his ankle to regain full fitness. He is likely to be back in action in October.”||27 October||None||Ruled Out|
|Sead Kolasinac||Uncertain||In Europa he felt a small problem but it seems ok||22/09/2019||Being Assessed||50%|
|Hector Bellerin||Knee Injury||Playing with under 23s. “We want the next week to take the normality training with us. After that week we can decide.”||20/09/2019||Late Fitness Test||75%|
|Kieran Tierney||Groin/Hip||Same as Bellerin||20/09/2019||Late Fitness Test||75%|
|Konstantinos Mavropanos||Lacking Match Fitness||No Return Date||Currently Being Assessed||50%|
I can’t see Bellerin coming back after being with the under 23s on Friday, so the only chance of the injured returning is Kolasinac. Holding has left the list so is presumably ready to play unless deemed not match fit.
So let us move on to Arsenal against Villa in recent history, and for this I have selected the last dozen games.
|21 Dec 2011||Aston Villa v Arsenal||W||1-2||Premier League|
|29 Jan 2012||Arsenal v Aston Villa||W||3-2||FA Cup|
|24 Mar 2012||Arsenal v Aston Villa||W||3-0||Premier League|
|24 Nov 2012||Aston Villa v Arsenal||D||0-0||Premier League|
|23 Feb 2013||Arsenal v Aston Villa||W||2-1||Premier League|
|17 Aug 2013||Arsenal v Aston Villa||L||1-3||Premier League|
|13 Jan 2014||Aston Villa v Arsenal||W||1-2||Premier League|
|20 Sep 2014||Aston Villa v Arsenal||W||0-3||Premier League|
|01 Feb 2015||Arsenal v Aston Villa||W||5-0||Premier League|
|30 May 2015||Arsenal v Aston Villa||W||4-0||FA Cup|
|13 Dec 2015||Aston Villa v Arsenal||W||0-2||Premier League|
|15 May 2016||Arsenal v Aston Villa||W||4-0||Premier League|
So in the last 12 against Villa we have lost one and drawn one. And that defeat on 17 August 2003 was one of the most notorious games at Arsenal in the modern era, for the refereeing decision making was so erratic it could not be believed.
The BBC report on the day said that “Benteke controversially put Villa ahead…” but doesn’t quite explain what the controversy was. They mention anger from Arsenal fans but don’t quite get to saying why. And that has consistently been the problem of the modern era. The rules of accreditation of the media insist that contraversial decisions must not be speculated upon, nor can outrageous tackles which go unpunished be talked about. So we ended up with reports that had little to do with the match.
What is also interesting is that newspaper pictures from the day have fans holding up placards of protest reminding us that at Arsenal it was ever thus. The Telegraph mentioned “Feisty Villa” and spoke of their “battle-plan” but didn’t really explain what “feisty” meant. Those of us there most certainly did know what it was all about. “Battle plan” was an incredibly apt description.
The Independent at least got a fraction closer to reality by saying “many Arsenal supporters in the 60,000 crowd, decided that the fault, in a close contest between Wenger and referee Anthony Taylor, was just about equally divided.”
But of course it wasn’t Mr Wenger’s fault that he had prepared his team for a game of football while Villa had prepared for hacking and rucking with refereeing connivance.
The Guardian said that for Arsenal “expectations are being undermined by a strategically inept transfer window.” Which was interesting because we bought, as you might recall, Mesut Özil with Bellerin following later in the season. Strategically inept indeed. It was ever thus.
As for the team the Express goes with
Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, David Luiz, Kolasinac;
Xhaka, Ceballos, Guendouzi,
Ozil; Aubameyang, Pepe
Squawka agrees with them. As does the Stats Zone, so that may well be how it goes.
The Standard is on similar lines but with one change
Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Luiz, Kolasinac,
Xhaka, Ceballos, Guendouzi,
Nelson, Aubameyang, Pepe
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