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Villa v Arsenal match preview: Lambert hoping team are on song
Paul Brown on Gunners clash.
23rd Nov 2012
Villa v Arsenal match preview: Lambert hoping team are on song


By Paul Brown

He won't be able to scream instructions from the dugout. But he says he's thinking of singing songs from the stands!

Paul Lambert joked in his press conference that he may well join in with the matchday chants after being slapped with a one-game touchline ban.

The FA decision means the gaffer will now watch the action against the Gunners alongside supporters in the Trinity Road Stand.

But judging by the depth of feeling on both sides - the manager and the fans - there's nowhere else he'd rather be after being forced to give up his usual sidelines spot.

He said: "I've had it before when I missed a Norwich-Derby game and also Norwich-Ipswich when I got banned for two games. It wasn't that hefty a fine, mind!

"But I've been done before. It won't really matter.

"Will you use microphones? Nope. Ian and I will know beforehand what is going to happen so we'll be really fine.

"Will I be joining in with the songs? The ones calling for me to go? I won't join in that one.

"Joking aside, the fans have been brilliant with me. I understand it's not where they want us to be in the table. But they have been brilliant with me and all I can ask if for them to stick with us.

"I know it's a results business and whatever will happen, will happen but it's a brilliant club with a brilliant fan base.

"It is not where I want to be, that's for sure. Myself, the club and the fans don't want to be there or near that. But I also know the bigger picture and it's not just a quick fix.

"It's the big picture we are trying to rectify.

"It's a results business, something I will never shy away from and the responsibility is mine and what will happen, will happen.

"The now I'm not happy with but it's at the end where you will be judged.

"As I said, the fans are great - that's one thing I've found out. They've been fantastic."

The decision that heralded the matchday meeting of boss and fans - the ghost penalty award - is something that Lambert believes can fire up his troops against Arsenal.

The boss has watched training intently this week and says there's been no hangover from the 5-0 loss at the Etihad Stadium.

He added: "I know the lads don't need to be picked up because I've seen it in training and I know the atmosphere will take over too.

"They were disappointed because of the result but the major thing was the penalty. It was tough because of the way the game transpired.

"But the sense of injustice could fire them up, yes. I think the game and the atmosphere will fire them up anyway.

"The confidence is really good so as long as they keep going they'll be fine.

"I don't have any problem with any of them. None whatsoever. I know any of them can handle it. They have proven to me that they can do it. I have no trepidation about throwing them in at all.

"Can we handle Arsenal? Yes, I believe that. Arsenal are a top side but I have great belief about where we are going.

"I watched Arsenal the other night and they are a right good side with some technically gifted footballers. They are still a top team and it will be a hard game for us.

"But we're at home and it will be up to us to make the running. We'll go for it.

"If we can replicate the way we played against Manchester United, we will give them a game. We will try and win.

"Some of the performances have been very good. We've just not had that break...that little bit of luck to go your way.

"There have not been too many times when I've walked away and been disappointed with the way we've played.

"The Everton game at home we never turned up and the second half against Southampton but in other games we've been really in it."

Let's hope Lambert is applauding his team off after a thrilling game. Who knows? He might head into the ticket office to snap up his seat for the Reading clash!

MATCH INFO

Match: Villa v Arsenal
Competition: Barclays Premier League
Venue: Villa Park
Date: Saturday November 24, 2012
Referee: Lee Probert

TICKETS

Snap up your seat now by calling 0800 612 0970, visiting the ticket office at Villa Village or Birmingham New Street or buying online.

AVTV DON'T MISS

Lambert Press Conference - watch now
Pre-Match Show - watch now
Memory Match - watch now

TEAM NEWS

Darren Bent and Eric Lichaj are back in contention for Villa after recovering from ankle and leg muscle strain injuries respectively.

Chris Herd [knee], Charles N'Zogbia [knee], Joe Bennett [leg], Richard Dunne [groin] and Gary Gardner [cruciate ligament] are all still absent.

Arsenal are set to be without Theo Walcott [shoulder], Andre Santos [stomach muscle], Abou Diaby [thigh] and Thomas Rosicky [hamstring].

But Arsene Wenger is set to welcome back forward Gervinho and defender Kieran Gibbs.

GENTING BETTING GUIDE

Villa win - 7/2
Draw - 12/5
Villa win 3-1 - 33/1
Draw half-time/Villa full-time - 8/1
Benteke score first Villa win 3-1 - 150/1
Time of first goal between 41-50mins - 8/1

Click here for FAQs on betting.

Don't forget, if you win your bet, cash payment is available after the game from the North Stand payout office, which is open an hour after the game finishes.

However you are also able collect your winnings online via www.gentingcasino.com/villaclaim.

Good luck and let's hope for a great result!

PARTNERS PRIZE

Official club partners FIAT and Acorns have joined forces to offer you the chance to win a fantastic prize at the Arsenal game.

Staff will be selling raffle tickets in hospitality areas and around the perimeter of the stadium from 3-5pm on the day of the big game.

The winner will drawn at half-time, pitchside by Acorns CEO David Strudley.

All proceeds raised will be donated to Acorns, our official charity partner.

The cracking prize is a two-day family break to Legoland Windsor Resort, including overnight accommodation, use of a FIAT Bravo with a full tank of fuel for the trip.

Many thanks to our official vehicle supplier - and today's match sponsor - for their very generous prize, which will make someone's day go extra special.

COLOURS

Villa will be wearing their traditional home kit of claret and blue.

LAST TIME OUT

Villa 1-2 Arsenal
Goals: Van Persie 17 (pen), Albrighton 54, Benayoun 87
December 21, 2011

MATCH STATS

Arsenal last lost a league game away to a West Midlands team in October 2005 - 2-1 at West Brom.

After 12 games last season, Villa had only won one more match but were in the top half of the Barclays Premier League table.

Villa haven't lost three consecutive league games in one season since December 2010 - a run which included a 4-2 home defeat to Arsenal.

In their last seven league away games to West Midlands teams, Arsenal have won six and drawn one.

Villa haven't beaten Arsenal at home since coming from two goals down to win 3-2 in December 1998.

Darren Bent has scored six goals in seven Premier League starts against Arsenal.

 

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