Aston Villa arrive at the Emirates this weekend in the Premier League.
Here is everything you need to know about the Villans ahead of the clash.
|Home Ground||Villa Park (42,640)|
|Record Signing||Darren Bent – £18m in 2010 (on loan at Derby)|
|Ex Gunners||Philippe Senderos|
|Top Scorer||Andreas Weimann (4)|
|Top Assister||Andreas Weimann (2)|
|Most Yellow Cards||Ciaran Clark (7) Alan Hutton (7)|
|Star Player||Alan Hutton|
|Player Arsenal Need Most||We’re struggling on this one…|
|Biggest Liability||Alan Hutton|
STYLE OF PLAY
Villa have long been known for their counter attacking, and certainly Arsenal have been on the wrong end of that before.
However, the typically pacy and fluid attacking trio of Agbonlahor, Weimann and Benteke have all struggled for regular game time, and with a midfield behind so pedestrian that there is room for Tom Cleverley, it is little surprise that Villa find themselves somewhat shorn of an identity at present.
New signing Carles Gil made his full debut in the cup last weekend against Championship high-flyers Bournemouth, celebrating with a goal. The winger has been brought in to add some trickery to the side, and Paul Lambert will be hoping for more of the same, as Villa look to build on that cup win in a way they struggled to do after victory in the previous round over Blackpool.
However, there can be no excuses for Arsenal if they fail to put away this Aston Villa side low on confidence and goals and keep momentum going.
With Ron Vlaar out injured again and Senderos struggling for fitness, the centre of the Villa defence has been manned fairly regularly by the inexperienced trio of Baker, Clark and Okore, all 23 or under.
Keeper Guzan and liability Alan Hutton statistically vie for the honour of being the Villain’s best player according to the EA points system, and it’s not hard to see why with little to smile about at the front and a very inexperienced back line.
You have to feel for Villa fans if that is the fare they are served up week in week out, particularly when your best player is also a complete liability.
The Emirates hasn’t always been their unhappiest hunting ground – many Arsenal fans will still be nursing the wounds of a 3-1 opening day defeat last season where Koscielny was sent off somewhat harshly after winning the ball, Benteke scored twice from questionable penalty situations and a late breakaway goal just compounded the Gunners’ misery.
But, with the quality on offer this time around, this game is surely a must-win for Wenger’s men.
SEASON SO FAR
The season started, if not well then, at least tolerably for Villa fans, with three wins and a draw giving them ten points from their first five fixtures.
In recent months however, things have gone very wrong, with the early season form followed by six straight losses and just twelve points from seventeen games.
It’s easy to see where their problems have been – they have scored a paltry 11 goals in total in 22 games, and just four of those goals have come away from home.
Many statistics have been bandied about around the number of individual players who have scored more Premier League goals than Aston Villa.
To date it stands at four – Diego Costa, Eden Hazard, Charlie Austin and our very own Alexis Sanchez.
Villa are currently on target to get even fewer goals than Derby County’s record of 20, and if that’s the case then we can expect to see a number of other players pass their total before the season is out.
With only four points separating 12th and 19th (and a further two to bottom dwellers Leicester), Villa may currently sit 15th (somehow!) but a win would jump them up to 12th, while four other teams could overtake them should they fail to win.
Certainly an extension to a league run which has seen them score just one goal in their last seven (against Man Utd!) and take three points from a possible 21 will surely mean they slip into the relegation places.
Arsenal must ensure that their run is extended for at least one more game.
Arsenal’s last 5 results against Aston Villa: DWLWW
|League||20/09/2014||(A)||W 3-0||Arsenal: Ozil (33) Welbeck (34) Cissokho OG (36)Aston Villa: –|
|League||13/01/2014||(A)||W 2-1||Arsenal: Wilshere (34) Giroud (35)Aston Villa: Benteke (76)|
|League||17/08/2013||(H)||L 1-3||Arsenal: Giroud (6)Aston Villa: Benteke (22, 61) Luna (85)|
|League||23/02/2013||(H)||W 2-1||Arsenal: Cazorla (6, 85)Aston Villa: Weimann (68)|
|League||24/11/2012||(A)||D 0-0||Arsenal: -Aston Villa: –|
Record for Arsenal v Aston Villa
Overall record between the two clubs
Aston Villa’s last 5 results: WLLWD
|FA Cup||Bournemouth||(H)||W 2-1||Gil, Weimann|
|FA Cup||Blackpool||(H)||W 1-0||Benteke|
|League||Crystal Palace||(H)||D 0-0||–|