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Arsenal vs. Aston Villa

Emirates Stadium



Villa Gunning For Gunners

If somebody had told you at the final whistle of the final game of last season against Sunderland we would be starting the new season off as the first visitors to Arsenals new Emirates Stadium minus James Milner and no new additions just how do you think you would have felt?

Well that is exactly the situation but when that whistles blows to start the 2006/2007 season on Saturday I fully expect to be amongst a crowd full of more optimism and hope than I have been for years and years!

The first game of the season is always exciting but this is something else, something special. For once the excitement is not about seeing new players or even old players who we have pined for over the summer. No this year its about genuine believe that finally Aston Villa are being put back on the right track for glory!

It`s been a rollercoaster of a summer, unbelievable lows matched only by unbelievable highs. Somehow the football is just never going to live up to the adrenaline pumping news coming out of Villa Park in recent weeks! We were told we would never get O`Neill to manage us, well we have. We were told we would never get rid of Doug Ellis; well we very nearly are…if anything this actually playing football lark is going to ruin all our enjoyment! Lets just hope we don`t get brought back down to earth with too big a bump.

As we will be starting with a similar side that went there last season and capitulated 5-0 its also a chance to see just how much difference a manager can have on team. Hopefully we will see signs of organisation and motivation that were so sorely missing last term. We cant expect miracles, we are not going to have become world beaters over night but what we can expect is passion and pride aplenty, both from the players on the pitch and the management on the touchline, and oh what a breath of fresh air that will be!

Arsenal Team News:

Arsenal too will have their own injury worries. Senderos springs to mind, and with the on off transfer of Ashley Cole they may have defensive frailties (yes I`m talking about you Pascal Cygan!) but they still have a pool of talent that we can only dream off. It`s going to be tough but never say never in this game. If nothing else it will be a good gauge to see just how far we have to go over the next couple of years.

Player to watch: Thierry Henry

Predictable player to watch shout, but he is supreme.

Aston Villa Team News:

There are some injuries doubts, namely Baros, Bouma and Cahill. Steve Davis has declared himself fit but will he be handed a starting role even though O`Neill has yet to see him play at first hand? Martin Laursen looks likely to be handed a place on the subs bench at best.

Player to watch: Well

This is not a game to worry too much about what is happening on the pitch, it`s a game to celebrate the beginning of a new chapter in the history of Aston Villa F.C. It`s a game to welcome Martin O`Neill and wait in anticipation as Doug's letter of resignation gets closer and closer! It`s a day for the fans to show that this Lion is ready to roar once more!

Match Prediction:

Mystic Mug returns with some optimism. He says an opening day draw will do and goes for 1-1

Preview by Aronno7

Words by Aronno7 apart from Mystic Mug and Arsenal player to watch.

Leave your match predictions in the article comments below. (if you want to naturally!)

The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday August 17 2006

Time: 5:20PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Tricky. Arsenal have better players on almost every position on the park, plus they will want to make a big impression on their first ever game at the Emirates. Yet if ever this current Villa team want to play their hearts out and stake their claim for the future, this is the game to do it. A draw would be a fine result but I have to go 2-0 to the Gunners.
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17/08/2006 17:54:00
Just remember this - you might have a new manager and nearly a new owner, but the same 11 sacks of, erm, sugar will still be on the field come kick-off...
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17/08/2006 17:59:00
Are any of you Vital Villans popping down for the game Saturday? Villa are one of the few teams we dont have a problem with & I've felt a bit sorry for you guys as youve had the rough end of the stick of the last few years. Here's to the Villa coming back to the big time!!! (But after we've taken 3 points on Saturday you realise!)
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17/08/2006 18:04:00
I think thay will be leaking goals at the back without Senderos so i'd just go out there and give them hell, Go for win, doesn't matter if we lose first game.
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17/08/2006 18:57:00
i agree with that, the villa will pull a result out of the bag and draw 1-1
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17/08/2006 18:59:00
It could be a good opportunity to overturn the Gooners. It will be their first premiership match there so it won't feel like a home match to them. Go for it Villa!!! Good luck Saturday
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17/08/2006 19:30:00
It will be interesting just watching the touch line. Especially if Arsenal are not winning!
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17/08/2006 21:37:00
COME ON VILLA! you can beat arsenal start of a new era and all that for you lot!
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17/08/2006 23:40:00
Bit of a harsh call in the opening statement, there are two big minuses in DOL and Old Man Doug and a big plus in MON, can't see a Villa fan choosing DOL, OMD and a couple of decent signings over what has happened. Good luck for Sat, I will be up at midnight (Aust time) to watch a bit of gooner flogging.
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18/08/2006 01:45:00
Walked out of Highbury last season, totally embarrassed at what I'd witnessed from our lot. Felt lower than at West Ham, Doncaster, Everton, Man. City (twice). Lets put some pride back. If we're going to lose, lets give it a real go, fight until we drop. The new dawn begins here.
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18/08/2006 04:09:00
A reckon we'll just lose this one 2-1 but as long as we put up a bit of a fight then it wont be the end of the world. WHy no Ref Watch in the preview? Graham Poll not worth the page space? He's Henry's bum boy tho isnt he so expect a quick free-kick to be scored.
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18/08/2006 08:50:00
remember that arsenal are new to the stadium as well so this could be the best time to play them. if we dont stand off them and give them to much respect we could come away with all three points..! or at least a draw.
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18/08/2006 10:37:00
All I expect is a good performance. It's probably a good time to play Arsenal with the Cashley Hole saga and all of that plus the feel good factor at VP right now. A good chance of sneaking a result but a performance is all I'm after right now.
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18/08/2006 10:51:00
This is a harsh first game, no doubt about it - Arsenal have so much quality in their side. But I expect Villa to put up a fight, especially bouyed by the recent news and with O'Neill calling the shots. Remember the draw at VP last season ? How well did we play then ? We can give them a solid game with the players we've got. Mark Henry out of the game, defend solidly and get them on the break boys. I too am tuning in at midnight in Brisbane to watch this one. UP THE VILLA !
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18/08/2006 11:12:00
Result wise I am not expecting too much. Performance wise I think it is to early in the revolution for any notable changes. I am not even sure that M'ON has too much idea of individual players capabilities. However I am expecting to see guts, determination and as the legend Ron Saunders would say, '110% effort'. We can ask no more. If the players give it all, no matter what the score, lets hope that as supporters we give just as much back, by packing Villa Park, not only on Wednesday but for every home game. UTV
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18/08/2006 12:50:00
whatever the situation, my opinion is that the majority of the team will now be playing with a freedom of thought and expression, freedom from the cloud of despair hanging over our beloved villans. freedom to impress the new boss and stake their claim in a team thats going places. which is enough to make this villan put a tenner on us to win. UP THE VILLA
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18/08/2006 18:32:00

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