Aston Villa vs Arsenal Preview & Betting Tips: Can Villans Mug AFC?

Ollie WatkinsAfter their last-gasp win during the week, the Premier League leaders Arsenal are back in action away from home on Saturday (5.30pm) as they travel to take on Aston Villa. Can the pacesetters pick up what would be another hugely valuable win? Or will the hosts have something to say? This EPL game preview and betting tips aims to find out.

It has been a very good first few months to the campaign for Aston Villa, who went into their midweek clash with reigning Premier League champions Man City in good spirits following no defeat in three. On Wednesday night, despite being underdogs in the betting with the UK oddsmakers, things got even better for Unai Emery’s men, who did the unthinkable and sunk Pep Guardiola’s ship, winning by a goal to nil in commanding fashion at Villa Park. The Villans did what very few other teams have done by keeping Man City very quiet and dominating them offensively. After such an impressive display, the pressure is on the hosts to continue performing.

As for the visitors, Arsenal, all is well for Mikel Arteta’s men, who kept themselves in a relatively comfortable position at the top of the Premier League on Tuesday, thanks to Declan Rice’s stoppage time winner against Luton. That victory signalled four Premier League wins on the spin for the Gunners, who have been in exceptional scoring form, notching 11 goals in those four games. They have also won each of their last two on the road.

Villa Park a fortress

After Wednesday’s fantastic display against Manchester City, it is absolutely fair to say that Villa Park is a fortress, one that is very hard for enemy forces to breach. Not only did Aston Villa show how strong they can be at home by beating everyone’s favourites for the title, but they have now won eight on the bounce at home.

What has been particularly impressive about Emery’s men at home is their ability to score goals and put teams under pressure, even though they have had the test of Thursday night Europa Conference League football to deal with. The AVFC players arrive here having scored two or more goals in five of their six home games in the EPL this season. They may have broken that two-or-more scoring streak by notching only one against Man City in the week, but that is not to say they didn’t offer a lot in terms of creativity, as they posted 2.06 xG, taking no less than 22 shots.

Arsenal can be got at on the road

Like Aston Villa, Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal come into this game in very solid form. They picked up a vital three points during the week, and as touched on in this preview above, they have won four on the spin. However, if we look beyond the results, are there any cracks? Well, Tuesday night’s game, although not costly in terms of points, showed us that this AFC team can be got at. Luton made light work of forging opportunities in that game and they are far from the first team to hurt the Gunners on the road.

Away from home, in all competitions, the EPL leaders have kept just one clean sheet in their last seven. During that time, four different teams have scored multiple goals against an Arsenal rear-guard that has not always looked too secure, including three teams that currently rank below Aston Villa in the table.

Gunners on top in this one

Saturday’s hosts, AVFC, will be hoping to alter what is a rather poor recent record in this fixture. They have lost each of their last four games against Arsenal, including at this venue when the teams last met. On that occasion, AFC won by four goals to two thanks to late strikes from Jorginho and Gabriel Martinelli. The Gunners have won each of their last two matches at Villa Park.

Home goals hard to oppose

Saturday’s hosts may not have scored twice last time out, ending their streak on home soil, but they performed in a manner that suggests they are not letting up in that final third. They created plenty against one of the best teams in the division. Consider also that the Gunners come here with a rather wounded backline and ‘Aston Villa to Score Over 1.5 Goals’ appeals.

We know that this Villa team has lots to offer offensively. With the likes of Moussa Diaby, Leon Bailey and Ollie Watkins, they’ve got pace and power in abundance. If we throw in players such as Douglas Luiz, Youri Tielemans and John McGinn, they’ve got lots of creativity to complement that attacking explosiveness. Just the first three players mentioned have delivered a rather impressive 29 goals and assists combined this season, while the latter three have also chipped in with 15 goals and assists, so it is fair to say that this is a team with lots to offer going forward.

As previously mentioned, the Gunners aren’t the most secure on the road. Luton, West Ham and Chelsea have all netted more than one goal when hosting Arsenal this season. If we put this together with the fact that Villa are the third best team in the league in terms of xG for at home, not to mention the best team in the Premier League for goals scored at home, averaging a whopping 3.42, then this simply goes down as an easy selection at the currently available odds. So for the AVFC vs AFC betting tips, this preview recommends this one:

  • Aston Villa to Score Over 1.5 Goals (in the ‘home goals’ betting market) @ best odds 8/5 (just over 6/4) with BetVictor.