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Discussion Starter #1
We really do need something from this fixture to stay up there with the others. A loss would surely put us in an uncomfortable league position with things looking how they did before our decent run of good form.

Arsenal are undefeated all season which is some achievement, but we will be playing for the upset- there's no doubt about that. We took a point from the corresponding fixture last season in that 1-1 draw- a point I didn't expect to be quite honest. We were fortunate to get a goal in the manner we did- this time around we won't need help from Kolo Toure :tongue:

Anyway, back to realism, my prediction:

Aston Villa 0

Arsenal 2

Henry (2)
 

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Discussion Starter #2
DUO SHOULD BE FIT

Aston Villa duo Gavin McCann and Darius Vassell are both expected to be fit for next weekend's home clash against Arsenal.

McCann suffered a knee injury as he tackled Dietmar Hamann in the 1-0 defeat at Liverpool, while Vassell failed to appear for the second half after feeling a twinge in his hamstring.
 

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Aston Villa 0

Arsenal 3
Henry (2), Wiltord

Even if we do have a fully fit side, we will still struggle in this one. I looked at the Liverpool and Arsenal matches as games that we coud afford to throw away after our christmass-new year run so its still no biggy if we lose these type of games at the moment.

At least it's gonna be nice to see a sell out at Villa park for once.

News on the side.. I got my Bolton V Villa ticket along with my Villa v Brum in the post yesterday!
 

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I didn't expect us to get anything out of the L'pool and I don't think we'll get anything out of the Gooner game! Its a shame that we have had these games back to back as a game against Totteham or someone sandwiched in the middle could have meant a win between two losses! But we get them out of the way, and then we can concentrate on moving up the table

Villa 0

Gooners 1
Henry
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Indeed, after we get these 'big boys' out the way we can concentrate fully on gaining a higher league position and the Carling Cup.

The only other fixtures remaining in this years' calendar that we will find potentially tough is the home game against Chelsea still to come (which won't seem terribly hard as we already beat them at VP this season :tongue: ) and the Villa Park encounter with Man Ure (which is on the last day of the season so hopefully won't prove too vital in our season). Other than that, we do have a good chance of winning in all of our remaining fixtures so we're definately in for a competitive and hopefully exciting finish to our season. We still have the return match with the Bluenose Scum at Villa Park to come too, so we do have a good remainder of the season to play :)

I am a happy Villa fan at the moment :), but very optimistic too...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
DOUBLE BOOST FOR VILLA

Aston Villa striker Darius Vassell and midfielder Gavin McCann should be fit for Sunday's home clash with Arsenal.

McCann limped off after 40 minutes of Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Liverpool with a knee injury and was expected to be out for at least a week, while Vassell did not reappear for the second half because of a hamstring injury.

But manager David O'Leary said: "I think Gavin just has a niggle, but we cannot afford to be without him. He is very important to us.

"Darius is all right, as well. It is just a tight hamstring, more than anything else."
 

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Discussion Starter #7
HITZLSPERGER AIMS TO GUN DOWN ARSENAL

Germany Under-21 midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger believes Aston Villa can end Arsenal's unbeaten run in the Premiership.

David O'Leary's side welcome the Gunners, yet to lose in 21 games this season, to Villa Park next Sunday.

Hitzlsperger told the club's official website: "I am looking forward to it because I think whenever we have played against these teams in the past, apart from Manchester United at Old Trafford {when they lost 4-0], we have done well against them.

"They are a good side and they play some good stuff but we can still beat them."
 

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I'll be absolutely delighted with a draw. I think Tommy Hammer is talking out of his arse though on that, if villa win i'll change my name to robbie savage.
 

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Well the team have to believe that they can beat Arsenal and I think that we can if Arsenal have an off day and Villa play to their maximum potential, these are of course very unlikely odds, but stranger things have happened!
 

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ASTON VILLA V ARSENAL PREVIEW
Friday 16th January 2004
Aston Villa boss David O'Leary is sweating on the fitness of both Gavin McCann and Darius Vassell for the visit of unbeaten Arsenal on Sunday.

The pair both limped out of Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Liverpool, with the England striker suffering a hamstring injury while McCann damaged his knee.

O'Leary is playing down their chances of playing but he will be hoping they can both feature as Villa look to get back on track after suffering their first defeat in six games at Anfield.

"They're still very debatable, as we speak, for Sunday's game," said O'Leary. "Darius has a slight hamstring pull while McCann has tweaked his knee.

"We can't afford too many injuries with the small squad we have and we've been lucky in many ways, but I would say the two of them are very doubtful for Sunday."

Villa's recent run has seen them rocket up the table after occupying a relegation spot earlier in the season, and O'Leary wants to see his side give The Gunners a run for their money at Villa Park.

Arsene Wenger's side were in superb form when they demolished Middlesbrough 4-1 at Highbury last Saturday, but the French boss will hope their away form improves after their nervy draw at Everton on their last trip out of North London.

Wenger has been boosted by the news that Nigerian striker Kanu will be available for the contest as he will not depart for the African Cup of Nations until early next week.

With Dennis Bergkamp, Sylvain Wiltord and Jeremie Aliadiere all out injured, Wenger desperately needs Kanu to partner Thierry Henry.

Defender Kolo Toure is available after recovering from a foot injury while Ashley Cole should be fit after a shoulder problem.
 

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[email protected] REFEREE!!!! How can they let that goal stand when we are still getting our defence ready? Mellburg is still walking back to the wall and Sorensen is sorting it out, and the ref says "Ok Henry, you can take it now!". [email protected]!
 

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Well Pablo you were right about the score line but I prefer the way the Villa fans put it 2-0 to the Referee as two dodgier goals you cannot find! As always the refs favour the big teams against the smaller and if we had been in the position with those two goals I doubt if either would have stood! :mad:
 

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Natalya said:
As always the refs favour the big teams against the smaller and if we had been in the position with those two goals I doubt if either would have stood! :mad:
So very true - Beckham scored one very similar against us 2 years ago. What's even worse is that it was the referee who suggested Henry take a quick free-kick. :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Appauling is all I can say. The referee had to move out the way very quickly as soon as he knew Henry was going to be sneidy. A sense of cheating comes to mind. The referee won 2-0, good for him but he ruined that game and should never allowed the goal.
 

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Natalya said:
[email protected] REFEREE!!!! How can they let that goal stand when we are still getting our defence ready? Mellburg is still walking back to the wall and Sorensen is sorting it out, and the ref says "Ok Henry, you can take it now!". [email protected]!
I see Mr O'Leary isn't best pleased with the goal either and was moaning about it after the match, but a particular Ian Harte goal (quick free-kick) comes to mind from around 2 years ago, against arsenal if am not mistaken. Who was manager of the Leeds team back then?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
O'LEARY LAMENTS HALSEY

Aston Villa manager David O'Leary slammed referee Mark Halsey after two controversial decisions condemned his side to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Arsenal at Villa Park.

O'Leary was incensed when Thierry Henry was allowed to take a quick free-kick for the opening goal after claiming his players had been told to retreat 10 yards and wait for the whistle.

The Villa chief was also upset with the penalty award against Olof Mellberg for a challenge on Kanu which allowed Henry to score his second goal of the game and his 19th of the season from the spot.

O'Leary said: "We've given a good account of ourselves against a good quality side and two decisions have cost us.

"It has taken the referee to decide the game. For the free-kick, our players got close to the ball and the referee said that he wanted them to go back 10 yards and wait for the whistle.

"There was no whistle, he was standing by the ball, he then stepped away quickly and Henry has taken a quick free-kick. As for the second goal there was no way that it was a penalty and I think Arsenal could not believe it themselves when it was awarded. I feel hard done by, very hard done by. What is the point of saying anything to the referee?"
 
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