Arsenal vs. Wolves Preview

Premier League

Football
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Published: 21/12/2011

Arsenalís home fixture against Mick McCarthyís struggling Wolves on Boxing Day will be the second leg of their new damage limitation project after their recent loss against Premier League leaders Manchester City which all but ended their hopes of rallying for the title.

In truth, the character and tenacity of Arsene Wengerís side has to be praised after their disastrous start to the campaign and they have impressed throughout November and December with excellent wins against Chelsea and Everton as well as securing a safe passage through to the knockout phase of the Champions League.

That momentum set up the Gunners well for a crack at Roberto Manciniís men at Eastlandís, particularly as City had suffered contrasting fortunes by exiting Europeís premier competition.

But although Arsenal proved more than a match for City in what has been dubbed the best game of the season to date, they ultimately came away empty handed thanks to a scrambling goal from David Silva and the defeat even prompted eternal optimist Wenger to declare his team out of the running for top spot.

Beginning at Aston Villa during the week prior to Christmas, Arsenal must now reassess their targets and prepare to achieve the realistic goal of once again qualifying for the Champions League.

And should Arsenal, now devoid of silverware for six years, manage to snatch all three points at Villa Park, their confidence will be the biggest boost of all leading in to this fixture against a side who look doomed for relegation.

Many feel Arsenal have come up short in amongst the big boys as they are predominantly a one man band, but Robin Van Persie cannot be discredited for the way he has galvanised the North Londonerís in recent weeks and his goals have been more of an inspiration to his team rather than something to be relied upon.

Wolves have looked weak in all departments this season but their defence is clearly their main cause for concern having shipped an average of two goals per game thus far Ė a stat which understandably suggests why they are plying their trade down at the foot of the table.

With sixteen goals already in the bag for Arsenalís Dutch ace, Van Persie surely looks nailed on to further add to his tally in this fixture as players of far less calibre have already exposed the Wolves back line on many occasions this season and the Gunners frontman has the ammunition to wreak real havoc Ė something which should ultimately force McCarthy into a complete defensive overhaul in January.

There is absolutely no value whatsoever in taking Arsenal at 2/9 to carry out the inevitable however the handicap definitely looks an attractive proposition especially if the home side are going into this match on the back of success at Villa.

Itís hard not to envisage a big score line and an Arsenal winning margin of three goals or more should at least give many punters a good run for their money as well as a strong chance of landing some decent odds in a more than one sided contest.


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