Last updated & checked: 10/08/2021
Aston Villa travel from the West Midlands to north London this Sunday afternoon, with manager Dean Smith hoping that his team can maintain the strong away form they have shown so far this season. Arsenal are looking for their first win in four Premier League matches.
The Gunners came through their midweek Europa League encounter away at Eintracht Frankfurt, winning 3-0. Sead Kolasinac apparently picked up a small injury, according to head coach Unai Emery, but it looks likely that the defender will be fit to face Villa. Striker Alexandre Lacazette has an ankle injury and will not be available. Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney are not yet match fit.
Villa’s only absentee for Sunday is striker Jonathan Kodjia, who has a cheekbone problem. Matt Targett is back in contention for a starting spot.
Arsenal vs Aston Villa Prediction: Gunners 1-1 Villains
Our prediction for this game is that it will end in a 1-1 draw. While Arsenal are at home, and have a fine recent record against Aston Villa in north London, we suspect that the Gunners’ midweek exertions in Germany will have taken something of a toll on them, and that Villa are currently confident enough away from home to get a positive result in north London. The Gunners have struggled to find winning form in the league in recent weeks and we suspect that that trend will continue this weekend.
Our recommended tip: Draw, both score
Our featured tip for this game comes from Betway, who are offering odds of 9/2 on the game ending in a draw with both teams scoring. Those odds represent decent value, especially for a game where Arsenal have been made such strong favourites with most bookmakers. We suspect that the Gunners’ recent inability to win league games will haunt them on Sunday afternoon. They will also be tired after playing in Germany in midweek. We suspect that Villa, who have a decent record at the Emirates, may score first, with Arsenal having to fight back and secure a point.
Arsenal have won their last six meetings with Aston Villa in all competitions, and have kept a clean sheet in the five of those games. These two teams have met on 48 previous occasions in the Premier League, with Arsenal having won 26 of those games, and Villa just eight. Fourteen of Arsenal’s victories have come at home, while Villa have won just five times in north London. Only Manchester United and Chelsea have won more times at the Emirates Stadium than Villa, though, who have three victories at the stadium in the Premier League to their name.
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Players to watch: Dani Ceballos & John McGinn
Spanish midfielder Dani Ceballos is Arsenal’s leading assist maker this season, having weighed in with two in his five Premier League appearances so far this season. He has made 197 passes this season, at an average of 39.4 per match. He has hit nine crosses, at an accuracy rate of 22%, and has played two through balls. He has also played nine accurate long balls. He has hit five shots with two of them being on target.
Scotland international John McGinn is the kind of all-action, box-to-box midfielder who seemed to have died out from the game in recent years. Effective in attack and defence, the lively Scotsman is Villa’s top tackler this season, having made 20 tackles at a success rate of 60%. He also offers plenty in attack, having scored one goal, made one assist and made 13 passes in his five Premier League appearances so far in 2019/20.