Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Team news for Villa - How Much Will we Miss Song?

Looking around this morning, it's probably best to start with positive injury news, which unfortunately comes almost exclusively in terms of Villa missing players.

It seems that Bent, Heskey, Herd and possibly also Collins are out for Villa. The absence of Bent and Collins are particular pluses as far as we're concerned, but so many of Villa's team have been playing poorly this season that it's hard to know what to take as a positive or not.

I don't think anyone really knows what Randy Lerner was thinking this summer when he appointed McCleish, a manager with a proven track record of getting teams relegated in the premier league. Maybe the convenience factor? Just pop down the road to get your new manager?

Whatever Lerner was thinking, Villa may well find themselves dragged into a relegation battle in the new year if they are not careful, and McCleish maybe realizing that long-balls and heavy tackles don't get you very far in the Premier League anymore.

As such, we should expect to take the 3 points tomorrow. Whether we win or not will put the City result in its proper perspective. Dropping further points could take an oddly uplifting defeat, and turn it into the beginnings of a mini-slump, just when we start the grueling Christmas period of fixtures.

As far as our team news go, Gooner Talk has said that the Telegraph reckon Gibbs will be out of the Villa game. On top of Djourou's injury, this may well mean Miquel has to fill in at LB, with Koscielny on the right. Far from ideal.

An even bigger absence will be Alex Song, who'll miss the game through a suspension he's finally picked up for cumulative bookings on Sunday. He's clearly become a massively important player for the team, even if he didn't necessarily have the greatest game against City. The famous stat, posted by Orbinho, was that up until late March last season, Arsenal had not won a game in which he did not start. I'm not sure if this changed or not in the last two months of the season, but, given our appalling finish to the season, I doubt it changed by much, if at all.

Over on the 'Positive Gooners' blog, the writer has claimed that Arsenal's win percentage this season drops from 66% to only 33% when Song hasn't played. So despite Villa's awful form this year, I am not one-hundred percent positive about the game tomorrow, especially due to my wider concern over whether we have the squad depth to successfully navigate the busy Christmas period. A scrappy 1-0 could be on the cards, and let's hope it's us that gets it.


For more Goonerboy, head over to Twitter.


Anonymous said...

why the f*** do you call it "the busy Christmas period"? Have you not bought your pressies yet?

Goonerboy said...

er, because we play more games than usual during the Christmas period? hence, 'busy'. Unless you count playing two league games in three days as normal.

Anonymous said...

21st, five days later the 26th? Then not another until five days later on the 31st is busy?