(Photo: Reuters/Dylan Martinez)
Arsenal will look to close the gap on fourth place in the English Premier League on Saturday as Aston Villa visit the Emirates Stadium.
Arsene Wenger saw his side lose two games in embarrassing fashion when they were dumped out of the FA Cup losing 1-0 to Championship side Blackburn. The Gunners were also thoroughly outplayed and outclassed by Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich during the first leg of the Champions League knock out stage.
Still, even with his side's poor performances Wenger is still confident his club can play with any team in Europe, stressing that his players need to play smarter and more efficient.
"We are not so far from Bayern … we need to be intelligent and strong in this period. We have to keep a guideline of what we have done until now," Wenger told reporters during a press conference.
"We must strengthen the team in the positions we feel where we are a bit weaker. But we have a basis of a team that is very strong, for me," he added.
Arsenal has played well in the Premier League, recently going four games without defeat, which has kept them in contention to finish in the top four of the league and secure their spot in next year's Champions League.
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert's task will be to ready his team for an eager Arsenal side. Villa has been inconsistent with one of the worst defenses in the league, but has a few key games to draw confidence from.
They drew at Everton and were able to come away with full points from West Ham. Villa did also manage to get a point against Arsenal when the pair met in November.
Kick-off for the match is at 10:00 a.m. ET and can be seen online here.