It's been a pretty difficult last few days as an Arsenal fan, at least in the very immediate short term because losing away to the strongest opposition in our first Champions League group game isn't really the end of the world but it was the way we lost that has left many an Arsenal fan shrieking and panicking.
It was our most difficult game of the season and after the bad away days last season you can fully understand the fear from Gooners. While the performance was shocking from start to finish I do believe that we are unfortunately going through a phase of transition. Tim Stillman touched on this in his recent piece for Arseblog and it looks like we are very much suffering from some teething problems. I thought we had applied the teething gel for last weekend's draw against the champs but it seemed to wear off pretty quickly. The hope is that the players have regrouped, taken the proverbial long look in the mirror and will return to take out their frustration on high flying Aston Villa this afternoon.
At least that's the idea, or the hope.
Arsenal Team News
Jack Wilshere had done his ankle in on Tuesday but it turned out not quite as done in as we thought so he should be fine for today. Nacho Monreal who only had a minor back injury has now got a back injury not as minor as it was on Tuesday. The moral of the story is think the opposite to what you hear in regards to Arsenal injuries.
Calum Chambers should be over his tonsillitis and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see him come in for Hector Bellerin, even though Bellerin didn't look out of place on Tuesday night, well not compared to the rest of his team mates anyway. Calum is higher up the pecking order at right back I think, so that change may happen.
Yaya Sanogo has a small hamstring injury and will be out while Mathieu Flamini returns to the squad.
We know that Arsène doesn't tend to stray too far away from his starting 11 if fit but when they've played a lot of high energy games in a short space of time he usually always rotates the squad somewhat. I full expect to see that rotation take place this afternoon. We have at least three players who could be considered as first team players who should be as fit and fresh as a fiddle. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Tomas Rosicky and Santi Cazorla will be hopeful to get a rare start this season. I'd be very surprised if none of those players started today. Personally I'd take Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Özil out of the firing line. It was those two players who were sacrificed when Arsène made his first substitutions in Germany so that might be an indication as to what Arsène might do. Santi Cazorla is higher up Arsène's pecking order than Tomas Rosicky but I think the latter would be a better fit if replacing Rambo. Rosicky is very good at pressing up the pitch and we could do with that today.
Danny Welbeck has a decent scoring record against Aston Villa I'm sure I read so lets hope that continues and he can open his account for us. He missed some very good chances in midweek so he'll want to correct that before it becomes too much of an issue.
Mean Lean's Predicted Line Up
Aston Villa are flying at the moment while Arsenal had a stinker and haven't found our best form as yet but I think that suits us today. The underdogs tag gets knocked down a little while complacency should be the last thing on Arsenal's mind. I fully expect our work rate to be upped today but the crispness of our passing will be crucial. Also how we deal with Aston Villa's counter attacks will be vital. Villa have countered to perfection so far this season so we will have to be switched on and make sure our central a do the required defensive work up and down the pitch and not just high in the Villa half.
Let's hope we get back on track today, score some goals and keep a clean sheet would be nice. On top of playing some good football would be just jolly wouldn't it?
Fingers crossed and good luck Gunners.
The usual Confirmed Line Up and Post match Q&A will be up later.