February 23, 2013
Sagna sidelined for Arsenal
Team Stat Comparison
|Goals for *||2.5||1.3|
|Goals against *||1.2||2.2|
|Last 5 home||W-D-D-W-W||L-W-D-L-W|
|Last 5 away||W-W-W-W-W||D-W-L-W-W|
|* Goals per match - home matches for home club and away matches for away club|
|Stats: Arsenal | Aston Villa|
|4/28||H: Newcastle United||4/26||A: Swansea City|
|5/4||H: West Bromwich Albion||5/3||H: Hull City|
|5/11||A: Norwich City||5/7||A: Manchester City|
|5/11||A: Tottenham Hotspur|
Bacary Sagna misses out for Arsenal in the match against Aston Villa in the Barclays Premier League.
The France international full-back has a knee problem and will not be available.
Kieran Gibbs remains out with a thigh injury but fellow defender Nacho Monreal is available again for Arsene Wenger's side.
FA Cup and Capital One Cup exits against lower-league opponents have marred Arsenal's season, but Wenger believes his players can regroup and have a strong end to the season.
"What we need is to be united and strong, and not to be destabilised by people who have strong opinions after one game,'' he said.
"I believe what is important is that the club always goes with the guidelines we have and does not change direction every time we lose a big game, that would lead to a disaster.
"A bad period for a club is also a good opportunity to show how united and strong you are. We have a good history of that at Arsenal.''
Wenger is expecting a response from his team against Villa.
"We know we are in a position where we cannot afford to drop points and we will go into the game with a huge desire to get out the disappointments that we recently had,'' he said.
"We want to come back in a strong position in the Premier League. I feel apart from Manchester United, it is very open for all the other positions.
"So it is down to us to continue to be consistent like we have been in the Premier League.''
Despite Villa's troubles at the wrong end of the table, Wenger expects a tough test at the Emirates Stadium.
"We have to prepare ourselves for a battle,'' he said.
"They are fighting to avoid relegation and it is a typical Premier League game. There is no easy game for anybody.''
Aston Villa playmaker Charles N'Zogbia has recovered from the thigh injury suffered during the closing stages against West Ham in time.
Striker Gabriel Agbonlahor and midfielder Karim El Ahmadi are also available after illness ruled them out of the 2-1 win against Sam Allardyce's side.
Defender Chris Herd (foot) is also poised to return to training next week but winger Marc Albrighton (foot) and defender Richard Dunne (groin) are still ruled out.
Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has branded criticism of Arsenal counterpart Wenger as "over the top'' and warned his side to expect a backlash.
Lambert is full of admiration for what Wenger has achieved in 16 seasons with Arsenal.
He said: "The level of criticism towards Arsene Wenger is a bit over the top.
"He's been there 16 years and he's just missed out on winning the Champions League against Barcelona. He's won the Premier League several times, he's won the FA Cup several times.
"If that's 'you don't know what you're doing' then I think there's something not right there, for what he's achieved is phenomenal.
"The Blackburn defeat would have been disappointing but is it a disgrace to lose to Bayern? The way they are performing and playing, no.
"It didn't surprise me Bayern beat them because of what they are doing in their own league. I think they are a right good team.
"You are talking about a team which lost on penalties in the Champions League final and potentially could go and get there again.''