Following last week’s defeat, Aston Villa will look to bounce back on Saturday lunchtime when they host Arsenal at Villa Park (12.30pm; TV: Live on BT Sport). The visitors also come into this fixture needing a pick-me-up following their mid-week defeat to title chasers Liverpool. Will they get it? This preview and its betting tips will hopefully answer that.
Things had been going very well for Aston Villa under the wily stewardship of Steven Gerrard, who is fast-becoming a hugely respected top-tier manager. Saturday’s hosts picked up a third straight win when they thumped Leeds United last week. It looked for all to see that their unbeaten run was going to extend to four when they headed into the 70th minute level at West Ham last week. They were struck with two late goals, which despite a last-gasp strike from Jacob Ramsey, was enough to secure their first defeat since mid-February. Now back on home soil, Gerrard will be hoping to see a reaction from his players.
As for Arsenal, well they too saw an encouraging run of form come to an end during the week, as they were beaten by a high-class Liverpool side, despite having the better of the contest for nearly an hour. In the end, the Gunners were outclassed by a side that seems determined to regain their Premier League title, but Mikel Arteta probably took plenty of positives from his team’s efforts on Wednesday night. The fact that they had won five on the bounce prior to that should mean that they go to Villa Park feeling confident.
Home wins few and far between
Villa Park hasn’t quite been the fortress that the Villa faithful will want it to be this season, especially in recent times. Gerrard’s men have won just three out of eight at home since the ex-Liverpool captain took the reins, losing three of the other five. They did come out on top in emphatic fashion when last in action in front of a home crowd, battering Southampton by four goals to nil, a win that was thoroughly deserved. That was their first home win since December and it’s not as if they’d only faced the top teams at home during that spell. They failed to beat a struggling Leeds side, who they drew 3-3 with, as well as losing to another of the relegation scrappers, Watford.
Improving on the road
This Arsenal side has improved overall, especially during the last three or four months, so much so that they are now a tough side to play host to. The Gunners are unbeaten on the road (in the league) in 2022, and they come here having won each of their last four travelling fixtures, scoring lots of goals in the process, producing encouraging xG for numbers of 3.2, 2.5, 1.8 and 1.4.
Mikel Arteta’s men are the now the eighth highest away-day point scorers in the Premier League, which while not incredible, is relatively impressive given their torrid start to the campaign.
What happened in the earlier meeting?
As we now trundle into the backend of the campaign, we are seeing teams meet each other for the second time in the EPL. Earlier in the season, Arsenal emerged victorious from their match with Aston Villa at the Emirates, scoring three goals en route to success. Around that time, the Gunners really started to shift through the gears, and on that occasion, they were worthy winners, even if defensively, they weren’t overly strong. Villa scored once and were allowed to create 1.4 expected goals, though it’s hard to say that the Arsenal weren’t good value for their victory having produced 2.7 expected goals of their own.
Goals on the cards?
For this preview’s money, this is a fixture that looks destined for goals, and at odds of 4/5, ‘Over 2.5 Goals’ catches the eye.
What stands out is that both teams will arrive at Villa Park on Saturday lunchtime off the back of creating plenty of chances in recent weeks. In their last five Premier League games, the Villans have created an average of 1.58 expected goals, which is above the current EPL average. Additionally, Arsenal, in their last five league fixtures, have created an average of 2.14, which really is impressive, as it’s nearly up there with the sort of figures that title fighters Man City and Liverpool are producing.
As well as creating opportunities, both Aston Villa and Arsenal come here in strong scoring form, with the visitors scoring nine in their last five, plus ten in their last five at home. Saturday’s hosts have scored nine in their last five, plus no less than 14 in their last five on the road. The ball has also rippled the net three or more times in four of Arsenal’s last five travelling fixtures, as well as in four of Aston Villa’s last five at Villa Park.
All this points towards to no shortage of goals materialising in the Midlands early on Saturday afternoon. With the odds the way they are, punters are advised to get in on the action by betting ‘Over 2.5 Goals’ at 4/5 as the sole selection when it comes to our EPL game betting tips.
- Over 2.5 Goals @ 4/5 with Bet365, William Hill or BetVictor.
Bradley Gibbs is an experienced football writer. He is an expert analyst on Premier League, and all global football leagues & tournaments, for Just Bookies. Bradley has been published by many respected outlets, including USA Betting and the Racing & Football Outlook. He has also written betting strategy guides.