Writer: Mike Field
Date:Thursday February 28 2008
Martin O'Neill doesn't believe Arsenal's trip to AC Milan will factor or have any baring on our weekend clash.
Arsenal drew the first leg at home, and now face a high pressure trip to the San Siro on Tuesday, but speaking on the official site O'Neill doesn't believe they will have one eye on the Milan match and that we can rely on that to pick up a result.
'I think that they have been able for quite a number of seasons now to be able to focus. It is not that difficult for them to be able to shift focus from league matches to Champions League games.
'The truth is I would love to say that they would take their eye off the ball, but it is simply not there.
'The league is there. They have been top of that, or second all year - and I don't see them taking it easy against us. They are two competitions that they prize greatly. So I just don't see it.
Instead O'Neill believes Villa can take heart from our previous meeting, the 2-1 loss where we were utterly fantastic in the second half.
'Without getting anything from the game, I thought our second half was outstanding. We certainly had them on the ropes and we put them under intense pressure.
'Pat Rice told Steve Walford, that it had been the most sustained pressure they had been put under during the course of the season.'
We all felt at the point if we could've played for 90 minutes like we did that 45, we might well have taken all the points against Arsenal, so if we can recapture that kind of performance (as has been a problem all season) we have no reason to fear anyone.
We put Arsenal on the backfoot and they struggled to cope, if we can do that from the first minute...well you can imagine.
'Interestingly, it shouldn't be falsely placed confidence but we should not be frightened. We have got players here capable of frightening other defences.
'That is a major plus for us and we must remain firmly fixed with that, of these capabilities of upsetting other teams. I don't care where they are placed in the league.
'With eleven games to go, regardless of this game against Arsenal, by Saturday, Sunday or Monday night we will still be in contention.
'We know that with those eleven games we will have to win X number, and I don't know how many, and for us to be thinking about that has got to be encouraging.'
Whatever the result, O'Neill is right. Just like Fulham didn't end our season, a loss to Arsenal wouldn't either. A point would be great, all three points is doable and would be fantastic.
Date:Thursday February 28 2008
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