Aston Villa v Arsenal – the preview

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The Gunners will visit Villa Park this weekend as Arsene Wenger continues his push for the title, while Rémi Garde, who once played for Wenger, will be looking to get one over on his former mentor as his team sit firmly rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table.

Last month wasn’t the Gunners’ best as they only managed two points in the Premier League. A point against Tottenham Hotspur wasn’t really considered a terrible result as they faced a Spurs side that was very much in form. However, losing 2-1 to West Bromwich Albion was a very bitter pill for the fans to swallow as the side struggled to create worthwhile chances and, once again, blew the opportunity to go to  the top of the table.

The North London side then managed only a draw with Norwich City, which further irritated the fans as they again failed to capitalise after some of the other title contenders slipped up that week. Adding to the unusually poor domestic form in November, they also suffered a 5-1 drubbing against Germany’s Bayern Munich in a match in which they were totally outclassed.

Injuries:

Arsenal seem to have bad luck with injuries at the moment. Some key players have picked up medium- to long-term injuries. A few weeks ago, Francis Coquelin was ruled out with a knee ligament injury and it was just recently confirmed that Santi Carzola will be out for a few months. Alexis Sánchez has been ruled out of the fixture against Aston Villa tomorrow and long-term absentees include Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere and Tomáš Rosický.

The danger men:

Fresh from their must-win game against Olympiakos on Wednesday, which the Gunners won 3-0,  Oliver Giroud is in fine form after scoring a hat-trick. Arsenal had to win by 2-0 or more in order to progress to the knockout stages of the Champions League, as their previous performances in Europe left a lot to be desired.

Although Giroud got the goals mid-week, Mesut Özil has to be the one the Villans watch extremely closely, as he has been in brilliant form. The Arsenal fans are finally watching him take games by the scruff of the neck and he has been unplayable at times. He has world class vision and can find a team-mate with minimal effort and put a team-mate through on goal with ease. He needs to be hurried and harnessed in order to put him off his game, which is why he’ll be the man to watch.

Giroud is in fine form but Özil will look to provide him with the ammunition to score

Aston Villa team news:

Jordan Amavi remains a long-term absentee from the Villa squad but Jack Grealish has been recalled to the first team squad after being disciplined by the gaffer.

Micah Richards remains a doubt after suffering a knee injury but Leandro Bacuna and Rudy Gestede, who limped off in the game against Southampton, have recovered and will be available for selection again.

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