Arsenal

Aston Villa Arsenal as Van Persie bets popular report Paddy Power

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has admitted his side face an almost impossible task to haul themselves back into the title race after their loss to Manchester City on Sunday, but says they will “try” to muscle their way back into contention starting with their game against Aston Villa on Wednesday, as Paddy report free bets on the game and indicate betting on Robin Persie has reached fever pitch.

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The 1-0 defeat against City leaves the Gunners trailing 12 points behind Roberto Mancini’s men going into the hectic Christmas period, with Wenger bemoaning the injuries that robbed him of a host of first team players for the game.

Johan Djourou limped off early in the second half against Roberto Mancini’s men, with the Swiss international joining the likes of Jack Wilshere, Andre Santos, Keiran Gibbs, Bacary Sagna and Carl Jenkinson on the sidelines.

Wenger described the game against City as “must win” and said that they will target the game against Villa to get their campaign back on track.

“It is a game we could not afford to lose, which is why defeat is difficult to take,” Wenger said.

“Had we won the game the gap would have been six points and we have players coming back such as Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby.

“At the moment we are too far behind and it will be difficult to close the gap on City now, but we will try.” The Frenchman added.

There was at least some good news for Wenger after it was revealed that Gibbs may make a quicker than expected recovery from injury in time for the game against Villa.

Alex McLeish’s side meanwhile go into the game fresh on the back of another insipid performance that led to defeat against Liverpool, and the Scot will be hoping for something of a response from his players when they take to the field on Wednesday.

Darren Bent caused a stir after being caught out shopping while Villa were losing to Liverpool on Sunday but could be fit to feature, while Gabriel Agbonlahor is available after being suspended.

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