Aston Villa v Arsenal should be a interesting match with Martin O’Neill’s side still buzzing from booking a trip to Wembley for the Carling Cup final. Arsenal are also in superb form and beat Villa 3-0 at the Emirates back in December courtesy of a master-class cameo from their captain and talisman Cesc Fabregas. The Gunners’ Spanish star is in the form of his life and will be the man Villa need to stop if they are going to inflict another big four scalp after beating Liverpool, United and Chelsea so far this season. Unfortunately for Martin O’Neill, Villa’s record against Arsenal is far from impressive.
Villa’s 2-0 win at the Emirates last season was the Villans only victory over the Gunners in the last 22 league meetings (14 defeats). Their record at Villa Park against the North Londoners is poor too. Arsenal have not lost in their last 10 league visits, a run that includes five wins. Villa’s last home win over the Gunners came back in December 1998 and even then John Gregory’s side had to come back from two goals down to win 3-2. Arsenal have actually won four of their last six visits so will fancy their chances the way they’ve been performing. O’Neill’s team have failed to score in their last three league matches but smashed in nine goals in the last two league games so confidence should be restored for what is a massive clash at Villa Park. Can Villa beat Arsene Wenger’s team at home or will the Gunners clinch another important 3 points in the title race?
The New Football Pools has gathered members of the FWA (Football Writers Association) to get their predictions on the Premier League clashes every week and they are all going for an Arsenal away win apart from Andy Dunn. The panel includes the likes of Patrick Barclay (The Times), Shaun Custis (The Sun), Andy Dunn (News of the World), Martin Lipton (Daily Mirror), Steve Bates (The People), Des Kelly (Daily Mail), Danny Fullbrook (Daily Star) and Paul Hetherington (Daily Star Sunday).
Andy feels that Villa will be ‘buoyed up’ by their Carling Cup semi-final win over Blackburn and the ‘momentum’ and ‘feel-good factor’ will work in the favour against Arsenal.
Are you surprised that only one of Fleet Street’s finest have backed Villa to win against Arsenal? Do you think the Gunners are that superior to Martin O’Neill’s talented outfit?
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The New Football Pools pundits Alan Hansen and Tony Cascarino have differing predictions for the match. Alan is backing the draw while Tony agrees with Andy Dunn that Aston Villa can win this match.
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