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Dave’s Villa Blog



The challenge for a Champions League spot is still on – but Villa have said they’ll enter the Intertoto if they have to, such is their determination to compete in Europe again.The UEFA Cup remains the midway possibility, but first it’s Arsenal – and Dave Woodhall fears the worst.

Reading last Sunday was a routine win in the end, although Villa made it a bit harder than they should have. Our defence is a bit ropey at the moment, and in particular Scott Carson. If he’s going to cost ten million, I’d politely decline Liverpool’s offer and look elsewhere.

Tomorrow is the train to Marylebone once more for Arsenal away. With the possible exception of a visit to the UK headquarters of Manchester United PLC, there isn’t a harder fixture in the league.

They’re supposed to be going through a rocky spell, with FA Cup defeat and draws against Milan and Blues, but no doubt they’ll find something special for Villa’s visit. Just like Manchester bloody United do.

United and Arsenal are often bracketed together, these days usually because they’re so far ahead of the rest. Arsenal are invariably portrayed as the good cop of the partnership, without the arrogance and money-grabbing ethos of their northern counterparts. This, of course, is because they haven’t had the opportunity.

I’ve no doubt that Arsenal would fleece their fans every bit as much as United do, if they were able. And as for arrogance, there aren’t many sets of supporters with as much divine belief in their own superiority. This, after all, is a club whose previous ground bore the legend ‘The Home of Football.’

Arsenal’s saving grace is their style of football, which at times is sublime. If they’re on form or anywhere close to it, they’ll beat us. We’ll have to give our all and still rely on a moment of luck/genius/inspiration to get anything form the match. That’s the difference between the top three sides and the rest.

The game with Arsenal at Villa Park was one of the best I’ve seen for a long while. It would be too much to hope that tomorrow will be as good, and almost as difficult to imagine a Villa revenge win, but we live in hope.

At the very least the Emirates isn’t too much of a detour from a couple of the finest pubs in the country. It’s a myth that you can’t get a decent drink in London – you just have to know where to look.

Dave edits the Villa fanzine Heroes and Villains which celebrates its 10th anniversary this month.Heroes and Villains

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