Pundits Predict a Big Win for Arsenal vs. Villa
Posted on Feb 22nd, 2013 by Araz Heydariyehzadeh
A massive 71% of our pundits are predicting that Arsenal will beat Aston Villa by 2 or more goals when the teams meet at The Emirates this weekend. The Gunners have scored more than 1 goal in a Premier League match on just 2 occasions in their last 7 games, so is a big win really that likely?
Arsenal's Precarious Position
After the midweek humbling by Bayern Wenger's men will be seriously deflated, but they need to get their minds back in the game very quickly if they even want to be competing in the Champions League next season.
Arsenal currently find themselves 4 points behind Spurs and 5 behind Chelsea, with two of the top 4 (Man City and Chelsea) playing each other this weekend and Tottenham having a potentially tricky away tie against West Ham this could be the perfect opportunity to turn a precarious situation in to a prosperous one. A win would put them right back in the race and with easier fixtures to come than the teams above them they would have their destiny in their own hands.
Only one team has scored more home goals than Arsenal this season, the 33 the Gunners have banged in at home is hugely impressive, had they not conceded quite so many they may be in a much better situation than they find themselves in right now. It should also be noted that at home Arsenal appear equally capable of the sublime as they are of the atrocious, in the last 2 months alone they have a 5-1 and a 7-3 win on their home record.
Despite this, their home record is not exceptional, 6 of the 13 teams that have visited the Emirates this season have walked away with at least a point and even though Arsenal are on a run of 2 straight wins their record over the last 7 also includes two draws and two losses.
Villa were good enough to hold Wenger's men to a 0-0 draw at Villa Park earlier in the season so this game will be far from a walk in the park if "the other Arsenal" turn up this weekend.
Last time out Villa grabbed a surprise win against West Ham which lifted them out of the relegation zone. That was their first win in 9 top flight games but they did look much improved. Like Arsenal, Villa have only lost twice in their last 7 games which is a pretty fantastic record for a team at the foot of the table. Everton, West Brom and Swansea are amongst those that have not been able to find winning goals against Villa recently so they may have a much better chance at The Emirates than they are being given.
The side and results have improved over the past couple of months and it might just be that Villa are being judged by their results earlier in the season right now and are therefore a little under rated.
Arsenal's defence has struggled with pace and movement all season, this is certainly something Benteke and the rest of Villa's young guns can offer. If Mertesacker is playing expect plenty of issues for Arsenal as Benteke's pace and power causes the German huge problems.
The key to this game though will be if Arsenal's attack can click as it has done in spectacular fashion a few times this season. Villa are without a clean sheet in 10 games and during that time they have conceded 2 or more goals on 7 occasions including an 8-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge, so their defence is very leaky indeed.
If Walcott, Podolski and Chamberlain are allowed room out wide they will expose Villa and there could be a goal fest, but everything hinges on how the players react to their midweek Champions League heart break. If they show the backbone they have been accused of lacking then they will prove our pundits right and win big. But if they sulk they will find this game a serious struggle, Villa have not been as poor a side recently as people seem to think they are and they have what it takes to cause a team that licks their wounds too often some major problems.
Our Prediction: We Think Arsenal now realise that their only hope at glory this season is to secure Champions League football again so they will step it up and expose Villa's defensive frailties. It might not be a 5-1 or a 7-3 but they will put Villa to the sword and get the win by 2 or more goals.
Show the world you know the score!