Arsenal can reach the top of the table this weekend as they look to capitalise on the mid-week heroics with a victory over Aston Villa in the Premier League.
Arsene Wenger will have his sights set firmly on nothing but a win this weekend, as he looks to build on the dreadful November that was suffered by the Gunners.
The toughest task the boss might have on Sunday afternoon is keeping the players heads focused, with Villa currently sitting at rock bottom in the table with six points to their name.
Remi Garde, a former player under Wenger, will want his side to pick up points quickly as he looks to tackle their questionable approach to fixtures this season.
That may be easier said than done when coming up against a side like Arsenal, but last weekends 1-1 draw with Southampton is certainly something to gain confidence from.
Fresh Arsenal have assessed everything you need to know about Sunday’s opponents, including a look at their recent results and who we should be wary of at Villa Park.
Premier League Last 10: LLLLLLDLLD
If things weren’t looking bad enough out on the pitch then it’s definitely time for a reality check with any Aston Villa fan, because the above form is depressing viewing on paper for anyone.
Having picked up just two points from a possible 30 in their last ten fixtures, Villa need to pull something special out of the bag before Christmas to have any chance of staying up.
Those two draws were featured against Manchester City and Southampton, so they certainly have the capability to upset the big boys in the Premier League.
However, in terms of form, the home supporters at Villa Park are yet to see their side win, having witnessed two draws and five losses since the campaign began.
And things don’t brighten up when looking at their goalscoring form, as they currently hold the unwelcome statistic of least goals scored with 13, and have conceded over double that with 28.
You can’t put any excuses down to them playing the better teams because we’re 15 games through and Villa still haven’t managed to turn things around.
However, it comes down to how Arsene Wenger treats this game and if he makes too many changes Villa will no doubt want to target the fresher legs that have been out of regular game time.
Remi Garde has already assured all friendships will be forgotten with Wenger when the first whistle blows, so you can expect a somewhat personal aspect to flow out of this fixture.
Top Goalscorer: Scott Sinclair (6 goals)
Quite ironically the man firing the goals in for Villa isn’t even a recognised striker and that shows you just how poor they’ve been in the final third this year.
However, Sinclair has a track record in causing havoc amongst defences and after the Englishman managed to escape the well-warmed bench at Manchester City.
Since then he’s made a huge impact at Villa and has the ability to get in and around defences as well as whip a teasing ball into the box from set pieces.
The 26-year-old last scored back in late October in the League Cup loss to Southampton, and he’ll be focused on getting his shooting boots back on against the Gunners’ backline.
He’s not afraid to have dig at goal from any distance, and you can expect his speed and agility to test the likes of Per Mertesacker who struggles out in defending counter attacking situations.
Whether he’s on the left or the right the most notable thing about Sinclair is he is a versatile winger like Joel Campbell, and Garde has an option to throw him on either side of the pitch to run down some tired Arsenal full-backs legs.
Most Assists: Gabriel Agbonlahor (2)
Usually it’s his job to be tucking home the goals but in Agbonlahor’s case this season has been very different for how his pace and power is utilised.
The Villa legend has featured as a substitute for the majority of his campaign so far, with Rudy Gestede and Jordan Ayew getting the nod up top instead.
However, that allows Garde to unleash the pacey striker with legs and minds tired on the opposition, and his sheer willpower to get to the ball is contagious.
Often playing in the number 10 role or as a solo striker, Agbonlahor is a traditional striker that likes to get the ball down, hold onto it and then supply the waiting midfielders around him.
His height will be a problem at times, but he’s beginning to lose his touch in the final third so he shouldn’t be much of a handful if and when he does get on the pitch.
One To Watch: Jolean Lescott
Not exactly a name that will strike fear into the Gunners supporters this weekend but Jolean Lescott has been a vital aspect since the injury to captain Micah Richards.
His experience from long-term stints at Manchester City and Everton leaves him as a perfect name to look out for, and in my opionion he’s the reason Arsenal should change their setup.
Following his goal at the St. Mary’s last week the 33-year-old proved he can still be a danger in the air whilst attacking and defending set pieces.
Olivier Giroud will have a hard time going up against the towering centre back, and Theo Walcott will be a perfect option to get in and behind the defence and cause real problems.
Lescott is a leader and without his presence the backline here would be struggling a lot more than they already are, so if he can have a good start you’ll see a distinct confidence from the Villa defence.