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Arsenal Vs Aston Villa Preview | Stats, Odds & Key Players: Cazorla & Benteke

On Saturday August 17th, Aston Villa will head to the Emirates to kick off the 2013-2014 season vs Arsenal.  Arsenal will be opening their season at home for the second season in a row after opening last season versus Sunderland.  Arsenal have not won any of their last three season openers with draws against Sunderland in 2012, Newcastle in 2011, and Liverpool in 2010.  Villa have one win one draw and one loss in their last three openers with a loss to West Ham last year, a draw against Fulham in 2011, and a win against Newcastle in 2010.

Arsenal Vs Aston Villa

Team News 

At this point in the year, most team news is about transfers.  These two teams have gone at the transfer window in two totally opposite ways.  Arsenal have only signed one player so far, that player being 19 year old Yaya Sanogo, and are still waiting to make their moves in the transfer market.  Villa on the other hand, made all four of their signings on July 1st, the first day the window was open, are mostly settled and got their new players a full pre season to gel.  On the injury front, Arsenal will definitely be missing Captain Thomas Vermaelen and left back Nacho Monreal, who are both out with long term injuries.  Aaron Ramsey has been ruled out for the Wales Republic of Ireland game on the 14th but some are wondering if this is an actual injury or if it is a way to get the player out of a poorly timed friendly between the two nations.  Theo Walcott has picked up an ankle injury in training with the England squad and he may have to miss the game because of that.  Walcott could be a big blow, as he was Arsenal’s leading goal scorer last season,while Ramsey will hope to play and continue his fantastic preseason form.

Aston Villa have both Charles N’Zogbia and Chris Herd on the injury list with neither having a set date to return, according to physioroom.com.  Herd is recovering from a foot injury he picked up last season and N’Zogbia is recovering from an achilles injury, that required surgery. N’Zogbia hurt himself while on vacation in Miami, has had his number 10 shirt taken and been switched to 36, and last year started only 11 Premier League games last year, despite making a big money move of 9.5m two summers ago from Wigan, and could worry for his future at Aston Villa.  Herd was a bit part player for Lambert last year making only nine Premier League appearances.

Interesting Statistics

In the last 10 meetings between the two sides, Arsenal have won five and, had three draws and Villa have won the other two meetings.  In the last five meetings at the Emirates, Arsenal have won three and Villa have won two.  Arsenal beat Villa in the game at the Emirates 2-1 between the two this year on the strength of two  Santi Cazorla goals, the last time Villa won at the Emirates was in May of 2011 in a 2-1 win on the back of a Darren Bent brace, but Arsenal did finish 32 points higher than Villa last year.  Olivier Giroud will hope to carry his preseason form, where he has scored eight goals, the most preseason goals by an Arsenal player since Dennis Bergkamp in 1995, into the new season and improve in his second season in the league.

Key Players 

Some of the more important players in this game will be Andres Weimann, Christian Benteke, Aaron Ramsey, if fit, and Santi Cazorla.  Cazorla, Ramsey and Weimann all created the five chances in the games against each over last season, more than anyone else.  Cazorla was Arsenal’s best player last season created the third most chances in the Premier League making him key in every Arsenal game and a thorn in the side of every defence he faces.  Benteke scored 40% of Aston Villa’s goals last year and a 26% conversion rate many would argue he is the reason they were able to stay up.  Villa signing Benteke to a new contract after he handed in a transfer request, rumoured to be trying to force a move to either Arsenal or Tottenham, was a huge coup this off season for Villa.



Arsenal will need a good start to keep their fans at bay, they booed them off after a poor first half in a pre-season game, who are deeply frustrated after a lack of signings this off season and Villa will need a strong season to keep Christian Benteke happy to try to retain him after this season.  Arsenal are definitely the favourites at 1.417 to win as opposed to Villa who are 8.3 to win but Villa would probably be happy to come out of the Emirates with a point, which they are 5.15 to do, all odds from Pinnacle Sports.  The Premier league will be back so let’s all take a moment to appreciate and enjoy that and enjoy the football.  I will try to stay unbiased with my prediction, even though I am an Arsenal fan, I think the final score will be 3-1 to Arsenal.

Final Wrap Up

Injuries: Chris Herd (out), Charles N’Zogbia (out), Thomas Vermaelen (out), Nacho Monreal (out), Aaron Ramsey (Game Time Decision), Theo Walcott( Game Time decision).

Prediction: 3-1 to Arsenal

Pinnacle Sports Odds:

1.417 Arsenal win – £10 bet wins you £14.17 (includes initial £10 bet)
8.3 Villa win – £10 bet wins you £83 (includes initial £10 bet)
5.15 Draw – £10 bet wins you £51.50 (includes initial £10 bet)

Follow me on twitter @The_Jersey_Fitz.
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