Villa v Arsenal: Lambert on how underdog tag might help
Paul Lambert accepts that Villa will have the tag of underdogs this Monday when they face league-leaders Arsenal - and he thinks that might suit his team.
The Gunners are riding a crest of a wave at present as they sit atop the Barclays Premier League.
For that reason, Arsene Wenger's side will be favourites to emerge victorious from the 8pm kick-off in B6.
But Lambert is happy for the pressure to be all on the title-challengers.
He said: "The Arsenal match might be a good game for us because nobody expects us to get anything.
"They're playing really well, they're on a fantastic run, one of the best teams around about at the minute and they have probably got one of the best players going in Mesut Ozil. I think signing Ozil gave them an incredible lift.
"You know what you're going to come up against. They're a great side, they have a great manager, everything is going for them and they're going for the title. You know what's going to come at you.
"Upsets can happen. All the time. That's why the game might help us because nobody expects us to get anything from it.
"We just have to go out and play with freedom and try to win a game.
"We know we're going to have to play well with and without the ball because of the way they are. But we know we can hurt them. That's the thing about it.
"If we click and we're on it, we can certainly create things."
Lambert naturally recalls the opening day win at Arsenal with some fondness as he looks to mastermind the double over the Gunners.
He knows that matching the industry his side showed on that wonderful afternoon will be paramount on Monday.
He added: "Everybody expected Arsenal to win the game. It was just the way the game transpired on that day.
"We got a great result and played really well. You've got to work hard against them. You've got to play without the ball a lot of times.
"We looked really threatening on the counterattack that day.
"Gabby had one of those days where he was fantastic for us, Christian got a couple of goals and the midfield worked ever so hard.
"The opportunity is there to try to go and win a second game against them. We're in a different place because they can spend £40-odd million on somebody, so there's that magnitude.
"As I said, Ozil has given them a major lift and they have lads playing on top of their game, not just one or two but a right handful there.
"They have a brilliant manager as well who has seen it and done it.
"Looking back at the stick after the first game, I'm pretty sure Arsene is laughing about it now.
"The team is excellent and we have to try to compete with them. We did it once and we have to try to do it again. If you let them settle and let them play, then they can hurt you."
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