Friday, September 18, 2020

Prediction: Aston Villa vs Arsenal


Verdict: Arsenal win

Best Odds: 21/20

Bookmaker: Unibet

With a golden opportunity to build on what has been a stunning week for Arsenal, the Gunners will make the trip to relegation scrappers Aston Villa on Tuesday night.

Aston Villa

Starting with the hosts, undoubtedly left heartbroken to have seen Everton snatch an 88th-minute equalizer at Goodison last week, Aston Villa know that they’re hanging onto their Premier League status by a thread. Entering their penultimate game of the season, Dean Smith’s men sit three points adrift of safety and know that they must leave Villa Park with something to show for themselves in midweek. With a final day trip to a resurging West Ham later in the week, last year’s Championship play-off winners have managed to win just one of their last 13 top-flight appearances, a run that stems all the way back to January 21st. With time ticking away and MVP Jack Grealish failing to inspire his squad, Tuesday’s hosts should also be concerned by what is an extremely worrying record against their London opponents. Including a 3-2 defeat when they made the trip to the Emirates earlier in the season, Villa have lost each of their last seven straight contests against their midweek guests.

Team News

After being given the green light following an injury issue, Chelsea loanee Danny Drinkwater could make his first appearance since the restart.

Elsewhere, while Kortney Hause is expected to be named among the substitutes, full-back Neil Taylor has failed to recover from a hamstring problem.

Arsenal

As for the visitors, shocking many once again over the weekend and booking their spot in the final of this year’s FA Cup, the mood in Arsenal’s camp should be at a real high. Really bouncing back from their derby day defeat away at Spurs earlier in the month, they managed to land a shock 2-0 victory against Manchester City at Wembley and have now won six of their last eight matchups across all competitions. There is no doubt that Mikel Arteta’s side should also be boosted by what was a stunning turnaround at the Emirates last week. Despite falling 1-0 behind to newly-crowned champions Liverpool in the capital, the Gunners landed a 2-1 and have made a string of improvements since Arteta’s arrival. If Arsenal are to make it three wins on the bounce at Villa Park, Tuesday’s guests will be calling on leading marksman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to lead their charge in the Midlands. Bagging a brace against the former Premier League champions on Saturday evening, the Gabon ace has also recorded three top-flight goals since the restart.

Team News

After limping off of Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final with a hamstring injury, defender Shkodran Mustafi will not feature at Villa Park.

Elsewhere, tempted to make some alterations after a quick turnaround, Mikel Arteta could recall January arrival Cedric Soares.

Key Factors to Consider

  • When the two sides faced off earlier in the season, Arsenal picked up a 3-2 win in North London.
  • Tuesday’s guests have won each of their last seven consecutive meetings against Aston Villa.
  • Including a brace over the weekend, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has recorded 25 goals across all competitions this season.
  • Villa have conceded more Premier League goals in the final 15 minutes of action this season than any other side (17).
  • Arsenal have won six of their last eight matchups across all formats and have recorded over 1.5 goals in each of those victories.

Conclusion

On paper, Arsenal should be smelling a real opportunity to extend on their recent purple patch. Now landing back-to-back victories against Manchester City and Liverpool, the Gunners should also be boosted by what is a stellar record against Tuesday’s hosts. Including a 3-2 win in North London earlier in the season, Mikel Arteta’s side have won each of their last seven straight meetings against the relegation scrappers. Left heartbroken to have seen Everton snatch what could be a crucial late point last time out, Dean Smith’s men have landed just a sole Premier League win in their last 13 attempts. In a must-win contest for the Midlands outfit, Villa could be in for another long night’s work against a resurging Arsenal.

Verdict: Arsenal win

Best Odds: 21/20

Bookmaker: Unibet

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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