Match Preview: Aston Villa vs Arsenal

Saturday 19th March 2022
Premier League
@Villa Park, Birmingham
KO: 12:30 GMT

Aston Villa return to action in the early kick off as they welcome Arsenal to Villa Park.

A recent upturn in form for Villa was halted with a narrow 2-1 defeat to West Ham last weekend and they will be keen to test themselves against a much improved Arsenal compared to recent seasons.

Arsenal come into the game off the back of a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool which ended a run of five straight wins.

Mikel Arteta has repeatedly told fans to trust the process as he aims to reshape and rebuild Arsenal after a tumultuous period and they are now in pole position to grab the fourth Champions League spot with both points and games in hand on their rivals.

Villa won the previous two meetings at Villa Park 1-0 with Ollie Watkins scoring early in last season’s meeting and the previous game saw Trezeguet score a vital goal which became the catalyst for a last day escape from relegation in 2020.

Arsenal won the league meeting between the two teams earlier in the season with a 3-1 victory at the Emirates Stadium courtesy of goals from Thomas Partey, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Emile Smith-Rowe before a late consolation from Jacob Ramsey.

The defeat was widely reported by both fans and media as one of Villa’s worst in a run that saw the owners eventually call time on Dean Smith at the helm.

Aston Villa Team News

Steven Gerrard could make a plethora of changes due to injuries sustained in recent weeks.

Lucas Digne suffered a hamstring injury which will rule him out and he is likely to be joined by Douglas Luiz (mouth) and possible Callum Chambers (head)

Marvelous Nakamba (knee) remains a long-term absentee but is reportedly not far away from a return.

This could mean that Morgan Sanson may finally get a start which many fans have wanted having endured a tough time since joining Villa and making some bright appearances off the bench.

Possible starting line up:
Martinez, Young, Mings, Konsa, Cash, Sanson, McGinn, Ramsey, Coutinho, Watkins, Ings

Arsenal Team News

Mikel Arteta has the luxury of being able to pick from what is virtually a full squad other than Takehiro Tomiyasu who has a calf injury.

However, Arteta hit out at the fixture schedule and claimed players were tired having only played on Wednesday night ahead of the early kick off today.

Therefore he may be tempted to switch things around but will likely stick with the side that has brought recent success.

Possible starting line up:
Ramsdale, Tierney, Gabriel, White, Soares, Partey, Xhaka, Smith-Rowe, Odegaard, Saka, Lacazette


Opposition breakdown:

Southampton are credited for pressing and aiming to control the game in the opposition half and are strong on the counter attack, creating many chances each game.

Their key weaknesses this season have been individual errors and they are statistically weak in aerial duels.

In regards to attacking, 24 of the 43 goals scored by Arsenal have come from open play with 10 goals coming from set pieces, 6 from counter attacks, 2 penalties and a single own goal.

35% of their attacks have come down the left wing with 39% down the right-hand side and only 26% centrally.

65% of their shots have come centrally with 55% coming from inside the 18-yard box, 35% outside of the box and just 10% inside the six-yard box.

Defensively, Arsenal have conceded 31 goals with 23 from open play, 4 goals from set pieces, 3 from penalties and a single goal resulting from a direct counter attack.

64% of the shots conceded from opposition sides have come centrally with 52% of shots being inside the 18-yard box, 40% coming from outside the box and 8% within the six-yard box.

Emile Smith-Rowe is the top scorer with 9 goals and Alexandre Lacazette tops the assists chart with 7 to date. Bukayo Saka has been a big player for Arsenal with 8 goals, 5 assists and the highest player rating so far this season.

Arsenal are 8th in the ‘away table’ with 6 wins, 1 draw and 5 defeats in comparison to Aston Villa who sit 13th in the ‘home table’ with 5 wins, 3 draws and 5 losses at home.

Head to Head record:

Aston Villa 69 wins, 45 Draws, Arsenal 84 wins

Last five meetings:

22 Oct 2021 – Arsenal 3-1 Aston Villa (Premier League)
06 Feb 2021 – Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal (Premier League)
08 Nov 2020 – Arsenal 0-3 Aston Villa (Premier League)
21 Jul 2020 – Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal (Premier League)
22 Sep 2019 – Arsenal 3-2 Aston Villa (Premier League)



Despite their loss midweek, Arsenal are in fine form and are improving as they hunt down a return to Champions League football.

The loss to Liverpool may have taken some energy out of them and Villa will be buoyed by recent performances including the 4-0 win last time out at Villa Park.

There are not many draws between the two sides but I’m going for a 2-2 draw.


Tip of the day
If you back the score prediction, the 2-2 draw is available at around 12/1 currently.

Aston Villa win – 21/10
Draw – 23/10
Southampton win – 13/10

SkyBet have a price boost with Phillipe Coutinho to have 1+ shot on target being available at evens.

John McGinn is due a goal so I’ve piped for him to score at 6/1.

If you fancy a small stake with big odds, you can combine the 2-2 and McGinn to score first, this is available at 175/1.


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Original Source: A Villa Fan

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