Competition: Premier League
Venue: Emirates Stadium – Sunday, February 1 – 13:30
Match Odds: Arsenal 2/9 – Draw 9/2 – Aston Villa 14/1
The North London side are on a run of four straight wins, which represents their best period of consecutive victories the season, and have lost just once in their last ten (in all competitions).
They’ve also only lost one game out of ten when playing on home soil in this campaign and haven’t lost a game against a team from the bottom half of the table, home or away (W 7, D 3).
Arsenal’s home record: Played 10 – Won 6 – Drawn 3 – Lost 1
Aston Villa have very different aspirations for the rest of the season, and their only priority will be ensuring they don’t find themselves in a struggle to avoid relegation, but it may be too late as they sit just three points above the drop zone.
They do have a good record when playing at the Emirates Stadium though, having won three times at Arsenal since their move from Highbury, as well as picking up two draws. They’ve lost just three times out of eight visits.
Having said that, they haven’t scored a Premier League goal for five consecutive games now, and have managed just one goal in their last seven – a very worrying trend.
It’s a well documented fact that Villa have struggled desperately to score goals, with just 11 all season. To put it into perspective, Arsenal’s star-man Alexis Sanchez has notched 12 on his own.
Aston Villa’s away record: Played 11 – Won 3 – Drawn 2 – Lost 6
On paper, it looks as though it should be an easy home victory, but Arsenal must maintain their high intensity and focus in order to make sure this game isn’t a banana skin.
[Arsenal ran out 3-0 winners in the reverse fixture back in September]
Aston Villa will be delighted with a point away at Arsenal given the current situation, so we can expect them to defend from deep and attempt to hurt their opponents on the break and from set-pieces.
Arsenal’s last five: W/W/L/W/W
Aston Villa’s last five: L/D/D/L/L
Key Stat: Aston Villa haven’t beaten a side from the top seven in the league this season.
Key Player: Olivier Giroud – The big Frenchman comes under a lot of criticism and should get more credit for the great job he does when leading the line for Arsenal – he is crucial.
Arsenal vs. Aston Villa Prediction: Arsenal 3-0 Aston Villa – The Gunners to cruise to victory and remain on track.