Arsenal Vs Aston Villa: Big Match Preview

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Football News

Arsenal will be waiting on the fitness of captain Cesc Fabregas for the visit of Aston Villa on Sunday.

Fabregas missed the 3-0 win over Hull last week with a minor hamstring strain but may have recovered sufficiently to make himself available for the visit of fourth-placed Villa.

Tomas Rosicky (hamstring), Nicklas Bendtner (groin) and Robin van Persie (ankle) remain sidelined, along with full-back Gael Clichy (back) and Johan Djourou (knee), while Armand Traore could be ready to return.

Manager Arsene Wenger believes the last four years have been his best period in charge of Arsenal - despite failing to add to his haul of silverware.

The Frenchman was appointed in 1996 and achieved Barclays Premier League and FA Cup double success in 1998 and 2002 while also adding the league title in 2004 and the FA Cup in 2003 and 2005.

Arsenal reached the 2006 Champions League final, losing to Barcelona, while Wenger also presided over a 49-game unbeaten run between May 2003 and October 2004 by Arsenal's `Invincibles'.

Yet, the 60-year-old believes moving to the Emirates Stadium and the overhaul of the club's training ground have been his greatest achievements.

"I think moving into a new stadium and keeping the team at the top in the last four years is, for me, my best period at my club," he told his club's official website.

"Unfortunately it is as well the period when we have not won trophies. But people forget that we have been reasonably consistent."

Emile Heskey is Aston Villa's biggest injury worry ahead of the crucial festive double-header away to Arsenal and at home to Liverpool two days later.

The England striker suffered a groin injury during the 1-0 home success against Stoke that kept Villa in the top four in the Barclays Premier League.

Boss Martin O'Neill is hopeful Heskey will be fit enough for at least one of the two forthcoming games but does have a ready-made replacement in John Carew.

O'Neill is unlikely to make many changes for the visit to the Emirates Stadium as Villa strive for a fifth successive league win.

Stephen Warnock believes Aston Villa have the attacking variety to unsettle Arsenal in the top-four clash.

And the England full-back insists Martin O'Neill's side will go to the Emirates Stadium with a "positive mentality".

Villa have already triumphed over Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United this season and will be bidding for a fifth successive league win.

It is a crucial three days for Villa, who host the return clash with Rafael Benitez's side on Tuesday.

Warnock said: "The Christmas period is very important for us because we have got tough games coming up. But we know that if we can stay in and around the top four until after Christmas, then we have a very good chance of being there come the end of the season.

"Every game is one you have to win. I don't think you can ever go into a game saying 'we'll take a draw here or we'll take this'. I think you have to be positive going into every game. We'll go to Arsenal and we'll look to win."

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Premier League
Francesc Fabregas
Aston Villa

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