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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Arsenal Looking To Catch Chelsea?

Charlie Nicholas has said today on Sky Sports that we are looking very good for a Champions League place, and if we can turn Chelsea over in our next match Arsene Wenger will have to stop worrying about catching us up, and concentrate on trying to pass the Chelsea boys.

Nicholas is less convinced in our defence, and has concerns over the squad size and the choice we have on the bench but is happy that as long as we can continue to convert the chances we create we are more than capable of staying where we are.

Speaking on Soccer Saturday, he said:

'They really struggled at times at the back, Knight and Davies struggled with Roberts in particular and McCarthy.

'But Villa had more than enough chances in the first half to wrap the game up and they certainly deserved to win, there's no doubt in my mind about that.'

The fact that we have now won seven games on the trot away from home also hasn't escaped his attention. What I wasn't aware of was that this figure has only previously ever been achieved in the top flight by Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs apparently.

Nicholas believes this is simply proof of Martin O'Neill's shrewdness in managing to get the best he possibly can from players.

'You've got somebody like Luke Young, who's an out-and-out right-back and Carlos Cuellar who is a centre-back, but the manager puts them in different positions and they manage to look fairly comfortable and know exactly what's required of them.'

The resurgence of Petrov's form and influence this season, has also been pointed out. Especially given the roll he now performs for us and his performance today.

'When I saw him at Celtic he would go beyond strikers, get chances and was a smart finisher. Today he was a very efficient player all round.'

Speaking in more general terms about what we have achieved this season and life at the top, he said:

'There's pressure on Chelsea, there's pressure on Liverpool now. All the compliments need to go to the manager and how he keeps rolling this bandwagon along.

'The next league game is at home to Chelsea and if they were to take Chelsea's scalp - and you wouldn't put it past them - not only does it give them unbelievable belief that they belong in the top four, but Arsenal will suddenly be looking at Chelsea as the ones to catch, not Villa.

'That would be an unbelievable compliment to Aston Villa.'

It certainly gives you food for thought doesn't it. More and more the media are warming to us and the so called experts are singing our praises and they believe we can achieve what was almost unthinkable at the beginning of the season.

Who knows if it will happen, but Arsenal are a fair few points behind us now, and if we can turn Chelsea over we will be five points ahead of them.




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The Journalist

Writer: Mike Field Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday February 7 2009

Time: 7:52PM

Your Comments

I am starting to think 3rd is achievable now - that would be sensational!! We would not have the Everton problem of falling before the group stages when we break into the top 4.
deano.avfc
certainly jolly good time at the minute
krisvilla
Unlike recent seasons when somebody has looked to challenge the 4, there are actually 2 teams that you can displace. I honestly now think it is between us and Chelsea. Chelsea has to go to Villa Park and come to the Emirates, so they are probably in trouble the most.
gunnerkid107
Great for them even to say this but lets be honest with our next 5 fixtures being really tough we will be lucky to hold onto 4th
TuBBz
It won't be lucky TuBBz, it will be a good achievement.
Villan Of The North
deano.avfc. Unless they have changed the rules you'll still have to play qalifers for thegroup stages if you come third.
Armory
TuBBz i actually think Chelsea has about the same difficulty as we have in our next 5 PL games, Arsenal has quite an easy run but with teams now getting results against them more teams are beginning to attack the gunners more often and play more positively, we are now 8 points above arsenal and i wouldn't put it past them to lose against Spurs in their next match.
Villa 4 Ever
come on you spuds, Everton are dark horses, they are winning a lot now to... signing of Jo looks inspirational by Moyes.
krisvilla
I was just making this point over on VA - at this rate, you guys may well secure a CL spot, more likely at Chelsea's expense than ours! Cos they're on a downward slope and haven't stopped bleeding, but we've hit the bottom and the performance is slowly coming back though not necessarily the results. This would give us more incentive to try and beat our neighbours tomorrow! And for the record, strangely, whether it's Villa 3rd and Arsenal 4th, or we in 3rd, Chelsea in 4th, I'd be just as happy. We'd like to have you in Europe you see! lol
GoonerLou
At the end of the day there is still a long way to go and its amazing what can happen. Where I think some teams go wrong is concentrating on individual teams, I have never seen it as a race bewteen villa and arsenal for fourth. The way villa are palying I see them finishing 2nd behind united. Liverpools frantic win today gives them a little lift but i am just not convinced by them. Alot rests on Arsenals game tomorrow, if we get 3pts, are next 6 games are all very winnable and players will start returning for the last six which sees us play united, pool and chelsea, with a full strength team we will pick up points. The table I believe will end up: 1st United 2nd Villa 3rd arsenal 4th Liverpool 5th Chelsea 6th Everton (if we pick up 3 tomorrow.) But as i said at the beginnning, theres a loong way to go.
Harry671
Armory - I believe they did change the rules. Top 3 automatically qualify. We do have a tough run in till mid april (barring stoke). Chelsea, Stoke, Man Citeh (A) Tottenham, Liverpool (A), Man United (A), Everton. I predict wins against Chelsea, Stoke, Liverpool, and Everton. Draws against Tottenham and United. And I think we will lose at Citeh.
los_angeles_villan
catch us, they'll pass us next week :-)
merlin
Arsenal looking to catch Chelsea? I guess Villa have third place guaranteed then? Delusions of grandeur perharps....?
ForeverUnited
NEXT 7- Villa fixtures-Chelsea, Stoke, Man Citeh (A) Tottenham, Liverpool (A), Man United (A), Everton. CHELSEA fixtures- Villa,Wigan, Pompei, Man Citeh, Spurs, Newcastle, Bolton. Whose is the tougher? Wins against Wigam, Pompei, Newcastle and Bolton, Spurs. Draws against Citeh and Villa. For you guys? Wins against Stoke, Spurs, Citeh (?) may be expected. Draws against Everton and Chelsea (?). But Liverpool and United will be too tough, especially as they are away, + Gerrad, Rooney will return. So I expect Losses. So, come April, I think we'll be comfortably in the third place. Especially seeinf the fixtures favour us. We have already played Untied and Pool twice, with only Arsenal left. I still think you guys will finish fourth, but we'll get to third easily.
JT_daniel
And surely, all this discussion, IF Villa beats Chelsea. Remember, in the first leg, we were mentally down. But we produced a master class of a performance to beat you guys 2-0. What is the guaruntee we'll not produce another fine performance like that? If Chelsea beat Villa on the 21st, then we'll go one point clear. After that you have the tough ones- Citeh, Spurs, Pool, United.
JT_daniel
Yep - big game against you lot for sure. Game on! Am hoping after the game that Roman feels like he's been credit crunched twice over.
YatesyVillain
'They really struggled at times at the back, Knight and Davies struggled with Roberts in particular and McCarthy. What a load of *********...Zat had Roberts in his pocket all game (well until Roberts was withdrawn).
jonah
YatesyVillain, or that his problems are all over! :)
JT_daniel
And by the way, Arsenal drew too. So they are 7 points behind you guys, 5 points behind us. Whatever happens, 21st will be a massive, massive game.
JT_daniel
 

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