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Premier League

  • 21 December 2011
  • • 19:45
  • • Villa Park, Birmingham
  • Referee: J. Moss
  • • Attendance: 35818
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Aston Villa - Arsenal Preview: Arsene Wenger's side looking to pile more misery on Alex McLeish’s stuttering team

The Midlands outfit should be able to welcome back Darren Bent to the starting lineup whilst the visitors again have to contend with a host of absences at the back


PROBABLE LINEUPS

ASTON VILLA

Guzan
Hutton, Dunne, Collins, Warnock
Albrighton, Petrov, Delph, N'Zogbia
Bent, Agbonlahor

ARSENAL

Szczesny
Mertesacker, Miquel, Vermaelen, Koscielny
 Arteta, Ramsey, Rosicky
Walcott, Van Persie, Gervinho

Aston Villa were well beaten in their last game against Liverpool but should be able to welcome back Gabriel Agbonlahor and Darren Bent as they look to end a poor in spell in front of goal that has yielded just two goals in their last five Premier League games.

Injury-hit Arsenal are short of defenders with Johan Djourou, Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson, Bacary Sagna and Andre Santos all sidelined, so youngster Ignasi Miguel will be expected to play after featuring against Manchester City. Alex Song is unavailable as he is serving a suspension for picking up five bookings.


DID YOU KNOW?
  • The last meeting between the two sides ended in a 2-1 win for the away side at Emirates Stadium.
  • Aston Villa have had 71 shots on target in the league this season, the fewest of all Premier League teams.
  • Before Arsenal’s defeat to Manchester City in their last game, they had gone eight matches unbeaten, with seven of them being victories.
  • Robin van Persie has scored 33 goals in his last 33 games in the Premier League in 2011.
  • This fixture has never seen a red card since the Premier League began.
  • In the last 10 meetings between the sides, Aston Villa have only won once, though that was at the Emirates.
  • In the history of meetings between the sides, Abou Diaby (pictured right) is the top scoring current player with four goals – though he is some way behind Thierry Henry who has scored 10.
  • In all meetings between the two sides in the Premier League there have been 92 goals – with Arsenal scoring 61 of them.
  • Aston Villa have scored just twice in their last five games whilst Arsenal have only conceded three in their last five.
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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Bradley GuzanGoalkeeper
6Alan HuttonDefender
13Stephen WarnockDefender
5Richard DunneDefender
6Ciaran ClarkDefender
24Carlos Javier CuéllarDefender
32Stephen IrelandMidfielder
-Charles N'ZogbiaMidfielder
12Marc AlbrightonMidfielder
19Stilian PetrovMidfielder
11Gabriel AgbonlahorStriker
33Andy MarshallGoalkeeper
19James CollinsDefender
-Derrick WilliamsDefender
16Fabian DelphMidfielder
46Barry BannanMidfielder
14Nathan DelfounesoStriker
10Andreas WeimannStriker
1Wojciech SzczesnyGoalkeeper
4Per MertesackerDefender
5Thomas VermaelenDefender
6Laurent KoscielnyDefender
8Mikel ArtetaMidfielder
16Aaron RamseyMidfielder
35Emmanuel FrimpongMidfielder
22Francis CoquelinMidfielder
20Robin van PersieStriker
14Theo WalcottStriker
27GervinhoStriker
1Manuel AlmuniaGoalkeeper
18Sébastien SquillaciDefender
7Tomas RosickyMidfielder
10Andrey ArshavinMidfielder
30Yossi BenayounMidfielder
15Alex Oxlade-ChamberlainStriker
29Marouane ChamakhStriker
Players to Watch
Darren Bent
Darren Bent
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 39
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The England striker missed the defeat to Liverpool with an ankle injury but he is expected to go back into the starting lineup against an Arsenal defence that is down to the bare bones.
Robin van Persie
Robin van Persie
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 20
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Maybe an obvious choice but the Arsenal striker cannot be overlooked with his fabulous scoring record this year. He is critical to the club's chances of moving up the table.
Prediction
Arsenal were in fine form before their defeat to Manchester City and will be expected to secure all three points over an Aston Villa side short of form.
Editor's Prediction

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