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Arsenal vs. Aston Villa: Match Thread

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It's payback time.

Per rides his invisible pony
Per rides his invisible pony
Clive Rose
Aston Villa v. Arsenal
Monday, 13 January 2014, 12PM PT/3PM ET/8PM BT
VIlla Park, Birmingham, England
Last Six Matches (League Only): Villa WDLLLL | Arsenal WWWDLD
TV: NBCSN

Here we go.  It's Arsenal v. Villa round two, and I have every confidence that round two will be much better than round one, don't you?  Arsenal are comfortably ensconced in the top three, and will go top again if they take maximum points at Villa Park today.  It's not a totally different Arsenal team in terms of personnel, but it is in terms of personality - this Arsenal team doesn't shrink from challenges, doesn't wilt when things aren't really going their way, and generally has a steel to it that early August's (and big stretches of last year's) Arsenal team didn't have.

The patchy form of Arsenal's strike force is backstopped by a defense that doesn't give up much - 18 goals this season, six of which came in one game - so even on days when Giroud's not playing all that well, I have a confidence in this team that I didn't have watching them last season.  This is a winnable game, Arsenal - go win it.

LINEUPS:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Arsenal&amp;src=hash">#Arsenal</a> team to play Aston Villa: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Wilshere, Flamini, Cazorla, Ozil, Gnabry, Giroud</p>&mdash; Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) <a href="https://twitter.com/Arsenal/statuses/422806890960003072">January 13, 2014</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23AVFC&amp;src=hash">#AVFC</a> Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Baker, Luna, El Ahmadi, Westwood, Delph, Agbonlahor, Benteke. <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23AVFCLIVE&amp;src=hash">#AVFCLIVE</a></p>&mdash; Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) <a href="https://twitter.com/AVFCOfficial/statuses/422805984994541568">January 13, 2014</a></blockquote>

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