Premier League: Arsenal v Aston Villa Preview, betting, and probable starting teams with both team looking to mount a charge.
Arsenal Team News
There has been a buzz around Arsenal this year that has not been there for some time. Mikel Arteta has brought back a structure and tactical plan to how Arsenal play and fans are loving it.
They have been openly mocked for the last season or two as a result of their shambolic defending. The new manager has attempted to fix this opting for a more defensive approach to matches.
In the short term this makes them a more difficult side to beat whilst building with new players. In the long term Arteta will want to bring in some new signings to have a better balance in how he wants to play.
Partey At Arsenal
We are seeing some early signs of this with signings of defender Gabriel and midfielder Partey. Both of whom have made a noticeable difference. Gabriel has given them solidity at the back, whilst also being big and strong in a challenge.
Partey, a defensive midfielder has been able to add protection to a vulnerable backline and create going forward. Arsenal currently sit in 9th place on 12 points. A win at the weekend could lift them near the top 4.
Despite losing 3 of the last 5 games Arsenal are in good form. They have started the season against tough opponents losing narrowly to Man City, Leicester and Liverpool in opening matches.
However, they put up extremely strong performances with noticeable signs of improvement. Moral in the squad will be high after Arsenal dominated Manchester United last weekend beating them one nil.
Injuries Ahead Of Clash
Arteta and his team will face a big test this weekend as they play high flying Aston Villa. Arteta will have some injuries coming into this game but all have been out already for some time now.
Players such as Chambers, Mari and Martinelli are all out. Arsenal will be predicted to line out in a 3-4-2 shape which has been their most consistent this season. Although depending on the opposition Arteta may change this come the weekend.
Aston Villa Team News
Dean Smith’s team are in magnificent form this season as they lie in 8th place with a game at hand. With 12 points to their name Villa could find themselves up to 2nd with win against the Gunners.
Despite it still being early in the season this has been a massive turnaround for the club. Last season at this stage Villa found themselves in the bottom 6 struggling to win a game. They have currently won four of the last six matches and have lost the last two in a row.
These defeats coming at the hands of Southampton in a 7 goal thriller and Leeds United. Despite the defeats, Smith will not be worried as Villa are scoring bags of goals which was their main issue last season.
The simple defensive errors in their last matches can be fixed on the training ground. Villa’s main change in attacking fortunes have come from some great business in the summer window.
A Transformed Villa
Signings in both attack and defence were made to mend the ways of last season. These in the hopes of a more secure league finish and to avoid another relegation battle.
Signings such as Cash,Martinez,Barkley,Watkins, and Traore have transformed the team. The additions of Barkley, Watkins and Traore have taken much of the pressure off the shoulders of Jack Grealish.
Grealish has been relied far too heavily upon for the goals at the club for far too long. He now has the freedom to play more freely without the pressure of carrying the club.
Smith has been lucky thus far that his injury list is not a very long one unlike some clubs.
Players such as Traore, Heaton and Wesley will all miss out at the weekend at the Emirates. Traore was injured early on in last week’s clash with Southampton and is still recovering. Whilst Heaton and Wesley are slowly returning from long term injuries from last season.
Aston Villa will most likely line out in a 4-2-3-1 formation. I can’t see Smith straying away from this shape as his team seem to play so well in it.
Predicted Result – Arsenal 2-2 Aston Villa
I think we will see a very entertaining game come Sunday. Both teams are in a good run of form and are both changed teams from when they last met. Despite both teams trying to become more solid in defence, their playing styles will clash.
Both will play higher lines to accommodate their new signings whilst trying to impose their brands of football. The result will be a clash in midfield, which is where the game will be won.
Arsenal’s best chances will come from the wing backs. Bellerin and Tierney will look to use their pace and rain down crosses into the opposition box. Awaiting these will be the top class strikers Aubameyang and Lacazette to head home.
The Gunners will look to Thomas Partey to do the dirty business in midfield with crunch tackling. Aston Villa’s best chances will come from down the middle. I feel Smith will drop Luiz for Hourihane.
This will allow McGinn and Hourihane to be box to box midfielders helping out in both attack and defence. This will allow Ross Barkley to stay forward and make runs into the box and make things happen.
Jack Grealish will be the likely spark in attack with his trickery and dribbling. I predict an entertaining watch and one that yields goals on both sides. Each team possesses too many good attacking threats not to be on the scoresheet this weekend.
A 2-2 draw is my final prediction and a result I feel both teams would gladly take.
Sunday 7:15 pm Sky Sports Box Office
Venue The Emirates Stadium
Previous Meeting Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal (Premier League 19/20)
Referee Martin Atkinson
Odds Arsenal Win 4/6, Draw 11/4, Aston Vila Win 4/1
PREDICTED STARTING TEAMS
Starting Eleven: Leno, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney, Bellerin, Elneny, Partey, Saka, Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang
Subs: Luiz, Mustafi, Willock,Kolasinac, Maitland Niles, Pepe, Xhaka, Ceballos, Nketiah, Cedric, Macey,
Doubtful: Luiz (Match Fitness)
Injured: Chambers (knee), Mari (ankle) and Martinelli (knee)
Discipline: 11 Y, 1 R
Top Scorer: Lacazette – 3 goals
Starting Eleven: Martinez, Konsa, Mings, Cash, Targett, McGinn, Hourihane, Barkley, Grealish, Watkins, Trezeguet,
Subs: Steer, Luiz, Nakamba, Engles, Elmohamady, Davis,
Doubtful: Heaton (match fitness)
Injured: Wesley (Knee), Heaton (Match Fitness), Traore (Groin)
Discipline: 14 Y, 0R
Top Scorer: Grealish/Watkins– 4 goals
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