Emirates Stadium, London
Sunday 1st Feb, 2015, 14:30 GMT
Arsenal will play host to Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium, a game they would be expecting to win all 3 points, especially after their masterclass performance against Manchester City in the Etihad Stadium. With Manchester United playing Leicester and Southampton taking on Swansea, Arsenal cannot afford to drop points against teams like Villa and should be ready to take advantage of any slip ups from the ones above them.
Aston Villa, on the other hand, will be looking to take inspiration from their opening day win against the gunners at the beginning of last season as they badly need to rake in some points if they are to avoid getting into the relegation scrap. As it is, they are in 15th place and only 3 points above 18th place and a further drop in points will make life miserable for Villa.
Team News and Tactics
Arsenal are a club in high spirits, having beaten City in their own backyard and following that up with a win in the FA Cup on a weekend that saw most of the big names knocked out by smaller teams. They have won 4 games in a row for the first time this season, and they would want to continue the momentum with a win against Villa.
In terms of team news, Arsenal will probably not start their star forward Alexis Sanchez and will at best make it to the bench as he takes some much needed rest while suffering a hamstring strain. Instead, the gunners will line up with Walcott on one of the flanks and Olivier Giroud up front. Another absentee from the first team could very well be Laurent Koscielny, who will instead be replaced with new signing Gabriel Paulista. Santi Cazorla might take his place in the centre of the midfield with Mesut Ozil playing on the flank.
The rest of the team will pretty much remain the same as the one that played against City, with the likelihood that Arsene may want to give Szczesny a start ahead of Ospina. However that may not go down well with Ospina who has not put a foot wrong while Szczesny has been letting in goals.
Predicted Line Up: Ospina; Bellerin, Paulista, Mertesacker, Monreal; Coquelin, Ramsey; Walcott, Cazorla, Ozil; Giroud.
Aston Villa need to find goals from somewhere this season or else they could very well be seeing relegation as the most likely result. They have only managed to score 11 goals so far this season, becoming only second worst scoring side in all the divisions of England so far this season. Their predicament is such that they are even getting invitations from clubs to decide which is the more boring of them all!
Paul Lambert will be hoping that Scott Sinclair, whom they signed on loan, will get their attack up and running and give them much needed flair in front of goal. There was more good news for the manager as both Fabian Delph and Gabby Agbonlahor have been declared fit. Carles Gil, the player that scored that wonder goal in the FA Cup, will likely get a start. Benteke, who is back from injury, will also help Villa score some much needed goals.
Predicted Line Up: Given; Clark, Hutton, Okore, Richardson; Gil, Bacuna, Sinclair; Agbonlahor, Benteke, Weimann.
- Arsenal have only lost thrice in the last 32 Premier League games between the two sides.
- Danny Welbeck has four goals in his last three starts against Villa.
- Villa have gone seven matches without a win, currently the worst run in the league.
Arsenal will be confident of getting all 3 points against Aston Villa, especially as they do not seem have an attacking threat that is likely to cause problems to the defence. Paulista would probably have a comfortable start to his Premier League and should be able to see out a clean sheet with the rest of the defence.
Predicted Score: Arsenal 2-0 Aston Villa