Arsenal v Aston Villa - Preview: Benteke to pile pressure on Wenger?

Arsenal v Aston Villa. Who will come out on top? Arsenal 2-1 Aston Villa – Emirates Stadium, 23rd February 2013

Odds: Arsenal 2/5, Draw 4/1 Aston Villa 77/10

Both clubs will go into this looking to get off to a good start in the Premier League this season. Aston Villa will be looking to push on and avoid relegation that they so nearly fell into in their last campaign.

The Gunners look to be heading into this game with roughly the same squad as last season though injuries might force them to resort to youth players filling in if there aren’t any signings before the weekend.

Paul Lambert will instruct his side to take some chances against Arsenal as he will feel that the defence is where they are slightly vulnerable, this could leave gaps at the back for Villa and create an open entertaining match. Two sides that like to attack their opposition.

It will be a tough game for the home side but they would expect to pick up the three points even without any signings of note. Both have had a strong preseason, Arsenal will be confident after beating Manchester City last weekend while their opponents have notched up for straight preseason wins with their last being a 3-2 victory over Malaga at Villa Park. The Arsenal defence will have to watch out for Christian Benteke who has netted seven times in five games this preseason.

Villa come into to the game with a clean bill of health whilst Arsenal could be struggling slightly as they have doubts hanging over a few of their players, Mikel Arteta is doubtful with a thigh problem and Santi Cazorla has only just returned from South America after playing for Spain against Ecuador. Monreal and Vermaelen are also out.

Last season’s reverse fixture:

Aston Villa 0-0 Arsenal – Villa Park, 24th November 2012

A drab 0-0 draw at Villa Park that saw neither side threaten to break the deadlock, Aston Villa looked the more dangerous but could never create a clear cut chance. All in all it was fair result as the points were shared.

image: © wonker

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