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Arsenal fans and players are still trying to work out how that penalty was given for David Luiz’s challenge on Wolves’ Willian Jose at the stroke of half-time in midweek.
That red card and penalty completely changed the direction of the game with Nuno Espirito Santo’s men coming from a goal down to eventually win 2-1.
Villa haven’t exactly had it all their way in recent times either. Although they beat Southampton by a fine margin, that Saints team are on a current run of four straight defeats in the league, including a 9-0 thrashing in their last.
Dean Smith’s men have now lost four of their last six, including a 3-1 defeat hosting West Ham during the week.
Mikel Arteta will be conscious that he might have to play Alex Runarsson in-between the sticks, which will worry him even if he doesn’t show it.
The youngster has already made a multitude of errors in his short stint at the club, and with Bernd Leno suspended and Matt Ryan potentially out too, the Icelandic keeper might have to start.
That could see a drastic change in their ability to keep a clean sheet and although the addition of Gabriel at centre back will provide some stability, we’d be concerned of their chances of keeping an eighth clean sheet this term.
Over 2.5 Goals
Ironically for Arsenal, their hosts will have the best keeper on the pitch, ex-Arsenal man Emi Martinez. However, Smith’s defence has shown signs of frailty over the last month or so, conceding in six of their eight matches across all competitions since their final game of 2020.
Moreover, only six teams have picked up fewer points on home turf than the Villians this term, and although they’ve played at least one game fewer than the rest of the league at home due to their Covid outbreak earlier this year, this Arsenal game is hardly going to see them jump up the table.
They have gone a poor W2-D1-L4 across their most recent seven at Villa Park dating back to mid-October, with both of those victories coming against bottom eight sides, while they’ve had more than two goals in six of their last eight here, at an average just shy of four goals per game.
Arsenal To Beat Villa
Only Man City (24) have earned more than Arsenal’s 17 points over the last eight matches in the Premier League, and with Villa down in the bottom half of the table on that metric, it could present an angle.
Arteta will know that his team should have capitalised on their chances before letting Wolves back into the game last time out, and with their only setback at goalkeeper, while the attacking prowess of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is added back to the side, they should have what it takes to bounce back this weekend.
Arsenal To Win 3-1
Goals haven’t been a problem for them either, netting seven times across their last four matches, and having secured 3-1 victories in two of their last three matches with top-12 outfits, coming against Chelsea and Southampton, it could be worth a little flutter on that scoreline repeating itself.