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Arsenal v Aston Villa Betting Odds, Preview and Predictions

Gunners targetting a top four finish

21st February 2013 / Lee A Jackson
Arsenal - Theo Walcott

Arsenal v Aston Villa Betting Preview
This is a game that Arsene Wenger won’t want to be losing. After taking a battering by Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League meeting, and following cup upsets against lowered tiered opposition this season, all Arsenal really have to gun for is a top four finish and a place back in the Champions League. But even that is looking under threat at the moment. So is this a good time for Aston Villa to roll into North London and cause an upset, doing their hopes of survival in the top flight a power of good?

Arsenal v Aston Villa Betting Odds at online bookmaker Sportingbet
Arsenal 3/10, Draw 4/1, Aston Villa

Arsenal v Aston Villa Recommended Bet:
How low in confidence are the Gunners? Well they are looking a little shaky at the moment. They bowed out of the FA Cup at home last weekend against Championship side Blackburn Rovers, dominating the game but really unable to find penetration and when they did, they looked as if they are lacking a world class finisher. Then they got beaten up, again at home, against Bayern Munich in the Champions League in the week. So where next for Arsene Wenger? Can he salvage something from the wreckage of the season so far? Surely a place in next season’s Champions League is going to be an absolute prerequisite? Failure to beat Aston Villa in the Premier League on the weekend, could see Arsene Wenger edging a bit closer to the exit door. They head into the weekend already four points adrift of fourth place in the standings. Arsenal will be firm favourites to take all three points on Saturday, but they have only won two of their last six home games against Aston Villa.

That has been a drop in form against the Midlands side, as the Gunners had won the previous eight to that in a row. Strangely enough, Arsenal have been scoring fairly well (with just one less than their ‘invincibles’ had in the 2003/04 season). But defensively, through the centre of midfield and at the back, their vulnerabilities have been showing up more and more and they are looking a fragile side. Still, their form in the Premier League has been pretty decent, unbeaten in their last four and having won three of them, the last two wins over Stoke and Sunderland coming with a clean sheet in tow. They have been falling apart in the cups though and that is what has heaped pressure on them. They now have to deliver under pressure in the Premier League. Their home scoring this season, in which the Gunners have produced over 2.5 goals per game suggests that there will be reward for them on Saturday, but they have conceded at a rate of nearly 1.4 goals per game at the Emirates this season.

Aston Villa held took away 0-0 draw when the Gunners visited in November and now have to try and at least do the same away from home. Paul Lambert’s men are just one point above the drop zone, after scoring a massively important 2-1 win over West Ham last weekend. Villa have actually done quite well at Arsenal in recent seasons, prior to a 3-0 defeat last term in North London, they had taken three draws and two wins from the five trips before that. In amongst the hammerings and their own cup upsets this season, Lambert’s young and inexperienced Villa side have produced patches of good football. Putting the ball in the back of the net often enough is their major problem, them being the second lowest scoring side in the top flight this term. Still, they have only lost two of their last six in the league, but there are also major questions over their defence, as they haven’t kept a clean sheet in their last ten Premier League matches. They have conceded at a rate of over two goals per away game this term, but have drawn their last three away games in a row.

Despite the wobbles in the cups, Arsenal have been producing results in the Premier League and would suggest that they can keep that going. They have scored three goals in each of their last two home games against Villa (in the EPL and the FA Cup last season) an Arsenal/Arsenal Half Time/Full Time bet is worth a crack at 5/6 with online bookmaker Paddy Power.

Form
Arsenal WDWWLL, Aston Villa DWLLDW

Stat Attack
Arsenal have won just two of the last six home EPL matches against Aston Villa
Villa have scored just 16 goals in 20 EPL away trips against Arsenal
Villa forward Christian Benteke has netted in each of his last five games
Arsenal have won seven of their last eleven EPL matches

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