Arsene Wenger has been at pains this week to keep the Arsenal players’ feet on the ground and their minds on the task ahead following the euphoria of rescuing our Champions League campaign from being up the creek without a paddle. So the Frenchman has spoken about focus and about the potential dangers facing the Gunners from today’s opponents Aston Villa.
You do feel that the biggest obstacle that Arsenal have to get over today is our own complacency because even with big players like Santi Cazorla, Alexis Sanchez and Francis Coquelin on the injury list, Arsenal have plenty of top quality in the team and are in good form.
And certain Arsenal players like Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and the hat-trick hero Olivier Giroud are in great form individually so it is no surprise to see them start. In fact the only surprise, and it is not a very big one, is that the Frenchman has not shuffled his pack at all.
So Wenger has stuck with the same starting line-up that did us so proud in Greece, meaning that Theo Walcott starts in a wide role once more, although I assume that he will start on the left this time as the team looked so much better with him there and the much improved Campbell on the right.
Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal
Campbell, Ozil, Walcott
subs Ospina, Debuchy, Gibbs, Gabriel, Chambers, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Iwobi.
I think that is the exact same bench as well and hopefully Wenger will be able to use it when and if he wishes after the starting XI put the home side to the sword. One thing we do have to worry about is the powerful Gestede in the centre forward role, so our centre backs need to be on their mettle from the start.
Will Arsenal be on top of the table tonight? We had better be.