Time to change the record against Villa

What a difference a week makes.

Seven days ago, the talk was of Arsène Wenger leaving Arsenal after defeat against Stoke and a draw against Fenerbahce at home in the Champions League.

Us Gooners have to maintain our faith and yet again, we confounded the form book and shut up those who were quick to write us off ahead of our victory against Manchester United.

Wenger, like so many successful people in sport, knows all too well that you can’t get carried away by the praise or the criticism.

Especially with the youthful nature of his current squad, Wenger must maintain their confidence whilst ensuring there are not more complacent performances such as that we endured against Hull, when too many players thought turning up would win us the game.

Aston Villa are, by all accounts, the team who many think have the best chance of breaking into the top four. Slowly but surely Martin O’Neill has developed an impressive squad who play good football.

We haven’t beaten them at Emirates yet, and O’Neill has a habit of lining up his players in a way that frustrates Wenger’s tactics.

That said, they have lost their past two games and may be without John Carew, whose aerial ability could cause us all sorts of problems.

While their potency cannot be under-estimated, playing against the pace of Gabriel Agbonlahor and Ashley Young probably suits the Gunners better.

If there are any doubts about Manuel Almunia and Manu Adebayor, I would not risk them, even though victory is essential to regain the winning momentum that cannot come with just one victory.

Lukasz Fabianski underlined how good a goalkeeper he is on Tuesday. The double save he made to deny Wigan was certainly as good as saves come and I would have no fears about putting him in to face Villa.

Equally, Carlos Vela has shown what a great finisher he is and the more games he plays, the more impressive he becomes. All the hype about him, especially last season, seems fully justified.

But I would like to see Wenger retain the team that faced M*nure last weekend.

That victory will have given the side a lot of confidence and reverting to 442 may well play into Villa’s hands.

O’Neill has shown that he knows how to handle an Arsenal battering at Emirates and victory tomorrow, with a week off ahead of us, will maintain the positive vibes the club needs while so many players are finding their professional feet.

The performance of Abou Diaby will again be key – he has the ability to unlock defences because he can beat one or two players.

Diaby scored our fifth goal in a 5-0 thrashing of Villa in the last game between the sides at Highbury. A repeat performance on Saturday would go down very nicely indeed.