Aston Villa v Arsenal - Match Preview, Stats & Team News

Villa Park

Aston Villa be looking to continue their impressive start to the season whilst Arsenal will look to get on their second league win of the season, and bounce back from a disappointing result and performance in Europe.

To be played on Saturday 20th September 2014 at 15:00. Venue: Villa Park, Birmingham.

Odds: Aston Villa 4/1, Draw 11/4, Arsenal 5/6

Last season: 1-2

Preview & injury news

Aston Villa are the season's early surprise package in the Premier League having won three of their first four games to sit second in the table on 10 points, only conceding one goal. Their last outing saw them stun Anfield with a Gabriel Agbonlahor strike and they will be hoping to continue their relatively good record against the top sides this weekend when they host Arsenal at Villa Park, who have had an indifferent start to the season. Paul Lambert will be in good spirits, especially after signing a new contract at the club.

The Gunners have only won one of their opening four league games - but have yet to taste defeat domestically. They will be keen to put their disappointing defeat in the Champions League to Borussia Dortmund behind them, and a win at Villa Park would be the perfect tonic for Arsene Wenger's side.

The visitors could be without Jack Wilshere because of an ankle injury, Nacho Monreal has a back problem and Theo Walcott is could return from a long-term knee injury towards the end of the month. No timescale has been put on the recovery of Olivier Giroud from a broken leg whilst Mathieu Debuchy is likely to be out for lengthy period after an ankle injury he picked up with the draw against Manchester City. Yaya Sanogo is also sidelined with a hamstring problem. Defensively, Arsenal are a little short.

For the home side, Christian Benteke is still on the road to recovery and is expected back next month, and Ron Vlaar is not expected to return from a calf problem until next week. Libor Kozak is still recovering from a broken leg.

Key stats

  Possession PercentageTotal Scoring AttError Lead To ShotTotal Pass / playedTackles won per matchPlayed
Arsenal 60.75 66 2 602.25 17.00 4
Aston Villa 36.75 33 0 332.25 10.25 4

If the statistics are anything to go by we should expect one-way traffic and Arsenal to try and control the game, and have more attempts on goal. If Arsenal take the game to Villa though, it could suit the home side as they try and hit the on the counter-attack. They may have had half of the scoring attempts but their defence has helped them flourish so far this season.-

5 players to watch

Philippe Senderos - Senderos had a terrific game for Villa at Anfield. He was solid at the back and let nobody past him. Here he faces up against one of his former clubs, and will be looking to put in a similar performance on Saturday afternoon. 

Per Mertesacker - With Arsenal short on numbers at the back, they are going to need their leader in Mertesacker to organise the defence well and put in a commanding performance. It will be also interesting to see how he does against a very pacey Villa forward line.

Gabriel Agbonlahor - Agbonlahor admitted he would like to have scored more goals, and he is likely to lead the line again. He's scored twice in the four outings so far this season. Can he get on the scoresheet again and continue Villa's good start to the season?

Danny Welbeck - Welbeck has looked sharp in during his first two matches in an Arsenal shirt but has yet to get on the scoresheet. He'll be keen to get that first goal for his confidence, and use it as a springboard and find some form.

Fabian Delph - Delph has had an excellent start to the season which has seen him rewarded with a place in the England squad, and he backed up that decision from Roy Hodgson with a mature display in the middle of the park at Anfield. A repeat performance here would please his manager.

Last time they met

Aston Villa 1-2 Arsenal, Premier League, January 2014

Two quick goals in the first half from Jack Wilshere and Olivier Giroud ultimately proved to be enough for Arsenal as they kept their place at the top of the table. They were made to work for it in the first 35 minutes, but Wilshere broke the deadlock after stroking him Nacho Monreal's cross after good work from Mesut Ozil. Villa's defence hadn't had chance to draw breath but Giroud doubled the visitors' advantage after latching onto Wilshere's pass. Villa stepped up their game in the second half and Christian Benteke after a diving header from a low cross from Matt Lowton. The home side pushed for an equaliser but Arsenal managed to see the game out.

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