The Aston Villa Appetiser: First of Lambert’s 12 Cup Finals – vs Arsenal


Well, we should have all been off to Wembley on Sunday for a grand day out at a proper cup final, instead Villa have the first in what Paul Lambert has labeled a series of 12 cup finals. Aren’t we lucky! 12 for the price of one.  Given Villa’s misfortune this season, it could be argued they finally have a bit of luck in the timing of their visit to the Emirates. In terms of the best time of the season to play Arsenal, after the Gunners have suffered two demoralizing home defeats, this is pretty much prime time to play the Wenger boys.


Match Difficulty Grade

 A  Although Arsenal might be short of confidence after getting knocked out from two different competitions, they will undoubtedly feel determined to put this right on Saturday. Aston Villa will head to London with a degree of confidence after a good display against West Ham and decent enough recent away displays, but they will have to play to the best of their ability to overcome the Gunners – despite their recent form.


Form is Temporary

Current Premier League form table (last six games) – Arsenal – 5th / Aston Villa – 15th

Arsenal: Last five Premier League matches at home: W 3, D 1, L 1

Aston Villa: Last five Premier League matches away: W 1, D 3, L 1

In the last five league meetings at the Emirates, Villa have won three, drawn once and lost twice.


Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet

Given all the flak that has been directed at Arsene Wenger, the very least he can offer to fans of Arsenal is a top four finish, and on that basis, this could be a tense encounter for the claret and blue following. A fact that stands out is that 13 of the last 16 goals Arsenal have scored have been in the second half, and if Villa start brightly but fade as the game goes on, they might be in trouble. We certainly don’t want a repeat of the FA Cup tie last season, in which we threw away a 2-0 lead. For all their poor results, Arsenal still have a strong squad at their disposal, and one that will be keen to get the winning feeling back on Saturday.

What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide

Resilience. Critics of Villa will often mention two things. The first perpetual criticism is that Villa are poor at defending set pieces, while the another is they are a 45 minute team. Lets be fair to Paul Lambert’s team – they did a lot to dispel those comments against West Ham, by being a tougher nut to crack. If we deal with set pieces from Arsenal as well as we did against West Ham, we’ll have the chance to match them with our own attacking force on the counter – with the likes of Benteke, N’Zogbia, Gabby and Weimann. Paul Lambert asked for his team to be brave in the face of a relegation battle, and the other weekend Nathan Baker spent most of the game with a bloodied head. If we can see this spirit again, it could be a good game.

Why Villa are Totally 100% Going to Win

In the Premier League Arsenal’s form isn’t particularly bad, though their recent wins have been rather narrow (wins over Sunderland and Stoke were both 1-0). So if they are struggling to score goals, we can have comfort in the fact that Villa have put a few away on the road recently. Villa’s North London record in recent years isn’t too bad, and with Villa’s forward line in good form and all fit (with an extra week off), a win could be within the grasp of Lambert’s Lions, if they start well. UTV.


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