Aston Villa vs Arsenal Preview | Team News, Stats & Key Men

Aston Villa vs Arsenal Preview | Team News, Stats & Key Men

Both these sides go into this game with reasonable Premier League starts – although Paul Lambert’s Aston Villa will be much the happier team with the Villans currently sitting in second position with an undefeated record so far this season. Arsenal have been slightly less impressive than this weekend’s rivals but the Gunners are also undefeated with a win and three draws currently making up their Premier League record.

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Both sides have had their fair share when it comes to playing the top teams with Villa defeating Liverpool 1-0 at Anfield last time out and Arsenal gaining creditable draws away to Everton and at home to Manchester City. However, Aston Villa be certainly be the happier side coming into this one with Arsenal losing in midweek to Borussia Dortmund whilst the London club also has a mounting injury list.

Team News

Aston Villa

Manager Paul Lambert has just three injuries to contend with although two of them could be classed as his two star players. Centre-back Ron Vlaar could miss out with a calf injury – the same injury that forced the Dutchman out of the win over Liverpool – whilst star striker Christian Benteke is out until October with his long term injury. Libor Kozak rounds off the Aston Villa injury list with his broken leg which should keep him out until November.

Arsenal

Despite the Premier League season being in it’s infancy, Arsenal already have a huge injury list to contend with. The London club currently have the joint most first team players out injured with seven squad members missing at the moment – this is tied alongside Newcastle United and Manchester United who both have seven injuries apiece.

Summer signing Mathieu Debuchy is out with an ankle injury sustained against Manchester City last weekend whilst Jack Wilshere is a doubt with an ankle injury of his own. Nacho Monreal could be fit after his back injury. Strikers Yaya Sanogo and Olivier Giroud have hamstring and foot injuries respectively whilst wingers Serge Gnabry and Theo Walcott are still some way from fitness with knee and ACL injuries. However, Arsenal supporters can take some solace in the fact that Walcott might be back before the end of this month.

Stats and Facts

  • Aston Villa had just 25% possession against Liverpool last weekend but had the same amount of shots on target as the home side. Although that didn’t take much because both sides had just one shot on target each.

  • Neither home side scored a point in these two fixtures last season with Aston Villa surprising Arsenal 3-1 at The Emirates on the opening day of last season whilst Arsenal beat Villa 2-1 at Villa Park.

  • Villa have beaten Arsenal just three times in their last 11 Premier League attempts.

  • Aston Villa have created an average of 5.25 chances per 90 minutes played this season compared to Arsenal’s average of 12.50.

  • On average, Arsenal also take double the amount of shots Aston Villa do: 8.25 vs 16.50.

Key Men

Fabian Delph

Can Fabian Delph inspire the Villa to another surprise victory?

Can Fabian Delph inspire the Villa to another surprise victory?

Fabian Delph has been Aston Villa’s main man so far this season and his high level performances have obviously impressed England manager Roy Hodgson with the midfielder being called up to the international squad for the recent matches against Norway and Switzerland.

The energetic midfielder has been busy in all areas of the field and his high work rate is one of his strongest attributes. Delph’s all round action approach has seen him win an impressive 60% of his total duels. It is this level of tenacity that has been so important for Villa’s players so far this season.

However, Delph isn’t just a work horse who runs around a lot – he is also adept with the ball. So far, he’s completed 80% of his total passes with an average of 30 passes per game being played forward which shows his attacking desire – even if some of these passes are direct balls like against Liverpool last week when Villa played on the counter attack for much of the game in the face of huge Liverpool possession.

Delph has also been a rock for Villa in the defensive sense and has averaged one interception per game and just over one clearance per game too. This shows us how Delph has contributed to Villa’s all round game this season and he is definitely one of the reasons they have improved so drastically at this early stage of the season.

Alexis Sanchez

Can Alexis Sanchez score for the second week running? His goal last week would take some beating.

Can Alexis Sanchez score for the second week running? His goal last week would take some beating.

I think it’s fair to say that Alexis Sanchez hasn’t quite hit the heights we all expected him to so far – although it must be remembered that we are in the earliest stages of a long season. Despite not being at his flowing and tenacious best, Sanchez has quietly gone about his business and scored a world class goal against the Premier League champions last week with a sublimely accurate volley which left Joe Hart with no chance.

Despite not grabbing all the headlines so far this season, Sanchez has been extremely creative for his teammates. The Chilean international has created over three chances per 90 minutes played which is exactly what a top team can expect from a star man.

The World Cup star has also scored just over a goal every other game which he would probably like to improve upon but after four games this is still impressive with factors such as new teammates and a new club to wager in – this is especially true for Sanchez (a natural winger) who has sometimes been asked to play out of position in the natural number nine role.

 As a winger, one of Sanchez’s main roles is to be able to go passed people at speed and this is an area that I would imagine that Sanchez would like to improve upon. The Arsenal man has been successful with 45.45% of his take-ons so far this season but I think Arsenal supporters would like to see this figure rise to about 50% so that we expect “every other dribble” to result in some sort of offensive progress.

One definite positive from the early stages of Sanchez’s Arsenal career is that the winger is certainly not shy of the ball – as to be expected from a former Barcelona regular. He’s been extremely involved in Arsenal’s build-up play so far this season and he has shown great desire to be involved in more areas than just the penalty box and this has shown with Sanchez playing an average of 2.86 key passes per 90 minutes played.

I believe if Arsenal sit a little deeper than normal at Villa Park they will win by utilising the pace of Sanchez on the counter attack – Arsenal supporters will certainly be expecting a better away performance than the last one against Borussia Dortmund over in Germany.

Betting Preview

Alexis Sanchez assisted 10 goals in La Liga last season and has created more chances than any other Arsenal player this season.

You can back him to get an assist at 4.03 with Tailorbet here – http://goo.gl/GKxYga.

Prediction

Looking at both teams’ start to the season I’m going to go for a draw because Villa should be ultra confident with Arsenal perhaps a little deflated after their midweek humbling. However, Villa did struggle to break teams down at home last season when their counter attacking weapon was slightly nullified by teams sitting deeper. Paul Lambert will be hoping that Arsene Wenger doesn’t set up his team to sit deep because this will allow the likes of Fabian Delph and Gabriel Agbonlahor to hurt Arsenal on the counter attack. I’m going for 1-1 at Villa Park – unless Arsenal use the counter attack, in-which case I’m going for 2-1 Arsenal.