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Sky Sports pundit predicts Aston Villa versus Arsenal

Aston Villa host Arsenal on Sunday afternoon.

Former player Charlie Nicholas is backing Arsenal to beat Aston Villa 3-1 at Villa Park, citing the opportunity to go top in his column for Sky Sports as a key incentive for victory.

Villa are still without a win since the opening day of the season and yesterday’s results leaves them eight points adrift of safety, a huge gap to make up considering their position.

The Gunners, in contrast, head into the encounter buoyed by their 3-0 midweek victory over Olympiakos and ensuing Champions League progression to the knockout stages.

Arsene Wenger’s side have the opportunity to go top of the Premier League table, momentarily at least, with a victory and Sky Sports pundit Charlie Nicholas feels it’s an opportunity they will grasp.

“Rudy Gestede will be a problem if he plays but they'll need to get crosses in and that's what they need Grealish for. However, Villa have to come out and have a go and that suits Arsenal,” he wrote.

“Nobody can deny Mesut Ozil is playing out of his skin right now. He was still making the same runs after 85 as he was after five minutes - and getting in more goalscoring positions.”

“With his form and Olivier Giroud back in the goals, there's not really anything that worries me about this Arsenal side. When you've got this opportunity to go top you must grasp it and I think they will this time and make a statement.”

While the Gunners face Villa missing key players such as Alexis Sanchez, Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin, others have admirably stepped up to the plate in their absence.

Mesut Ozil is finally showing exactly why he cost a club record transfer fee, producing 12 assists in 14 league matches including a run of at least one in seven successive Premier League encounters.

Giroud’s midweek hat-trick in Greece surely removed any doubt over his importance to the team, and partnering him alongside Theo Walcott could pose Villa all sorts of problems on Sunday.

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