Everything went Arsenal's way midweek, resulting in the inevitable qualification for their Round of 16 knockout. It may have been the hard road but the end result will be all that is remembered. With such a euphoric high, some might like to point to their 3-0 drubbing of Olympiakos as a game that will propel Arsenal on to a great run. More of us will remember that it's Arsenal, meaning that they're primed for a shock. The team is still very injured (please let Ozil's leg be fine please let Ozil's leg be fine) and could do with a rest heading into the Christmas glut.
Fortunately, Aston Villa is about as close to a rest as you can get.
No disrespect to the team or their wonderful fans, although it makes you wonder about a group who openly call themselves The Villans, but Villa have won just once this year, Week 1 against newly promoted Better-Than-Chelsea Bournemouth, and taken a point in just a further three. They are woeful and probably have relegated themselves already. No game is easy, but they don't come easier this year.
Everyone who's out is still out but Wenger has the midweek team set to go. Had a few more options been available in the midfield, I would have expected a rest for one Mesut The Saviour Ozil, but beyond shifting to a 4-4-2 (I think... ?), looks like they go with the same formation. Meaning the likelihood of seeing a tired, fuzzy-thinking Arsenal high. Haven't heard the term "in the red" yet but I surely won't be the only Gooner on edge, hoping for three points and no injuries. And I'm far more confident in the former.
Oh, and something something FA Cup last year, motivation for Aston Villa yada yada, likely not.
Stumbling block, business as usual or nightmare to get us all good and lathered for Man City? Never boring following Arsenal.
Aston Villa v. Arsenal
English Premier League
Villa Park, Birmingham
Sunday 13, 2015
5:30 PT / 8:30 ET / 13:30 BT
How (to watch):
US : NBCSN
International info: livesoccer.tv
Prediction: Arsenal need only 4 minutes in the 1st half to put up a pair of goals to see out a nervy 2-1 win. Bring on Christmas!