Arsenal vs. Aston Villa Preview

Fa Cup

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Published: 02/02/2012

After a late Thierry Henry strike earned the Gunners a narrow 1-0 success at home to Championship side Leeds United in the third round, Arsenal will be looking to step up their bid for an eleventh F.A Cup triumph when they host Premier League rivals Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium on January 29.

Such a feat would tie the North London outfit level with Manchester United as the most successful club in cup history, whilst also supplying their first piece of major silverware for six seasons.

That disappointing and painful drought has seen many pundits and fans alike beginning to question Arsene Wenger’s long term future at the club – and there were suggestions that the Frenchman may have resorted to desperation by bringing legend Henry back for a two-month loan spell whilst the MLS takes a break in between season’s.

But the introduction of Henry, into what was a dull and turgid game against Leeds, sparked a flat and aimless Arsenal into life and the veteran showed that he still retains much of his well renowned ability when slotting the winner home to the delight of the home supporters.

But it wasn’t long before those happy feelings turned sour and Arsenal subsequently went on to lose away to Swansea City in the Premier League – a match which culminated with Henry having a bitter exchange with a group of disgruntled fans.

And Villa, who have so far had a distinctly average campaign, may well be confident of sticking another knife into their opponents and giving themselves something to get excited about with their league form doing little to inspire or thrill.

With the Premier League title now well out of sight, it is the Champions League which will be the main focus for Arsene Wenger and his thread bare squad, which continues to be savaged by injury.

But realistically, the F.A Cup seems Arsenal’s best chance of holding a trophy aloft in 2012 and a fourth round exit for the club would heap a great deal more pressure onto Wenger’s shoulders.

With all four natural full-backs in the treatment room, Arsenal look extremely vulnerable to almost any team willing to show merely an inch of the attacking endeavour which they themselves consistently display.

As their defeat at Swansea demonstrated, the Gunners were literally ‘outgunned’ by a side who were determined to take the game back to them leaving the holes in their squad looking badly exposed.

Arsenal are 4/7 to get the better of Alex McLeish’s men and that is no price whatsoever considering their current form, injury list and increasing pressure to perform.

As the week’s roll on, Arsenal are becoming more dependent on Robin Van Persie to produce the goods and it is unlikely that the aid of Henry is enough to provoke a quick turnaround in performance and quality.

Despite lacking a natural goalscorer, Villa have mixed it with the top teams fairly well this season and if they can frustrate and get in amongst Arsenal, it is possible that they can claim a major scalp and make it through to the last 16.

At a best priced 5/1, it is definitely worth chancing an away success as the playing field appears to be far more level than the bookmakers are suggesting.

Backing under 2.5 goals is not always advisable as potential sending’s off can ruin such wagers, but at even money this also looks a rather solid bet as their will not be too many goalscorers on the pitch and it is hard to envisage both sides giving too much away at least until the latter stages of the second half.

Any odds displayed within this article were correct at the time of publishing (02/02/2012) but are subject to change.

02/02/2012     © Frixo 2018

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