PREMIER LEAGUE LIVE: Aston Villa v Arsenal – as it happens from Villa Park
18:09 GMT, 24 November 2012
Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the Barclays Premier League as Aston Villa host Arsenal at Villa Park to conclude Saturday's action. The Gunners are riding high on confidence following their qualification for the last 16 of the Champions League and travel to a Villa side involved in a battle against relegation at this stage of the season. Send me your thoughts on the action at [email protected] or contact me on Twitter @Ripinho.
Aston Villa 0-0 Arsenal (5.30pm)
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Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Stevens, El Ahmadi, Westwood, Weimann, Bannan, Agbonlahor, Benteke.
Subs: Given, Ireland, Albrighton, Holman, Delph, Bowery, Lichaj.
Arsenal: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta, Ramsey, Oxlade Chamberlain, Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud.
Subs: Mannone, Sagna, Vermaelen, Wilshere, Coquelin, Arshavin, Gervinho.
Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)
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37min: A mistake from Szczesny sees him handle the ball outside the box under pressure from Gabriel Agbonlahor, giving Villa a free-kick on the left flank and the keeper a booking.
36min: Villa are stretched at the back again but the backline keeps its shape as Cazorla's 25-yard shot is blocked.
35min: There are signs that Arsenal are starting to make their class tell as they are now seeing more of the ball and forcing the hosts to drop deep.
When Villa do get possession back, they try to pass the ball around but are quickly forced into a hurried clearance.
32min: After that fine opening Villa have struggled to to test Arsenal in the last 15 minutes but will be happy that they have limited Arsenal going forward. The rain continues to fall in Birmingham.
29min: And this is a full chance. The Gunners break down the right and after the ball finds Ramsey inside the area, his shot through a crowd of Villa bodies and across goal is well blocked by Guzan.
27min: Half-chance for Arsenal as the ball bounces loose for Lukas Podolski inside the box, but Brad Guzan is quickly off his line to claim before the German can shoot.
25min: From InfostradaLive:
Arsenal have scored at least twice in four of their last five PL visits to Villa Park.
22min: But we are soon back at the other end where Villa think they have won a free-kick on the right side of the box.
As it turns out, Karim El Ahmadi is booked for diving after Santi Cazorla makes no contact with his attempted tackle. A great call by Lee Mason and his officials.
20min: A minute of appreciation from the Villa fans who applaud in support of their captain, Stiliyan Petrov who is battling illness.
During it, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fires wide at the near post for Arsenal.
19min: From there Westwood crosses for Benteke who climbs above Laurent Koscielny to head wide back across goal.
18min: Another Villa corner as Bannan's chip into the box is headed behind by Kieran Gibbs. It was crucial too as had he missed it, Benteke would have been one-on-one with Szczesny.
16min: The home fans are really starting to get behind their side as they force the Gunners into a number of errors.
Christian Benteke scuffs a shot from a poor Carl Jenkinson header inside the box as Villa continue to chase every ball.
14min: Excellent passing from Villa. A neat passing move precedes Westwood picking out Andreas Weimann on the left side of the box with a lofted ball, and his cross is pushed behind by Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny. The corner though comes to nothing.
11min: Barry Bannan's inswinging delivery from it is decent and powerful but no one can make contact as it flies wide at the far post.
10min: And his side win a free-kick to the right deep in Arsenal's half after Aaron Ramsey's sloppy lunge on Ashley Westwood.
9min: Aston Villa boss, Paul Lambert is serving a touchline ban today and judging by the weather it's a good match to observe it.
The Scot is watching from the stands but will be impressed how his side has stifled Arsenal so far.
6min: The away side continue to probe for an opening as Kieran Gibbs plays a hopeful low cross into the box but Villa comfortably clear.
5min: Olivier Giroud's cross from left is headed behind by Ron Vlaar for a corner, but the set-piece into the box evades everyone.
3min: Arsenal are trying to settle into their passing game but plenty of appetite from Villa so far who are pressing all over the park. No chances.
Tough in the tackle: Arsenal's Olivier Giroud (right) attempts to tackle Aston Villa's Ron Vlaar
Kick-off: Arsenal, in yellow, get us going with Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla.
17.25: It's a chilly evening in the West Midlands and the rain is falling to accompany it as the players make their way out.
17.20: From InfostradaLive:
The starting lines up for both teams have a combined average age of 24 years and 252 days old – the youngest of any PL fixture this season and youngest since Manchester United’s 8-2 home win against Arsenal in August 2011 (23-314).
17.15: Arsene Wenger has said pre-match he expects a direct approach from Aston Villa and that he is prepared for it.
That's providing Paul Lambert's side can get the ball of course. The hosts could spend much of this game chasing shadows.
Back in the team: Aaron Ramsey replaces the rested Jack Wilshere for Arsenal
17.10: Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert recalls midfielder Karim El Ahmadi in place of Stephen Ireland for the home Barclays Premier League clash with Arsenal – but there is no place amongst the substitutes for fit-again striker Darren Bent.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger makes three changes from the line-up which qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League via the midweek win over Montpellier.
Full-backs Carl Jenkinson and Kieran Gibbs replace Bacary Sagna and Thomas Vermaelen while midfielder Aaron Ramsey comes in for the rested Jack Wilshere.
17.05: The full line-ups from Villa Park:
Aston Villa v Arsenal
Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Stevens, El Ahmadi, Westwood, Weimann, Bannan, Agbonlahor, Benteke. Subs: Given, Ireland, Albrighton, Holman, Delph, Bowery, Lichaj.
Arsenal: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud. Subs: Mannone, Sagna, Vermaelen, Wilshere, Coquelin, Arshavin, Gervinho.
Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)
17.00: On paper this isn't really a contest. Aston Villa looking well short of confidence and stuck inside the bottom three go up against an Arsenal side starting to go up through the gears again.
An away victory is surely on the cards but i think I may have said something like that when the Gunners visited Norwich recently…team news up next.
Gunning for success: Arsenal will hope to pile more misery on Aston Villa at Villa Park