One of Arsenal’s best performances in the first half of the season came against the Villans, but that day we were slightly fortunate with illness plaguing the Birmingham side’s squad.
With last seasons horrible 3-1 opening day loss at the hands of referee Anthony Taylor freshly in our minds, it’s time to right the wrongs.
We’re a completely different side to that of almost 18 months ago and we certainly won’t be making the same mistakes again on home soil.
Here are five convincing reasons why the Gunners have this one in the bag:
1. Villa’s horrible form
- ‘Break club record spend or look elsewhere’ Arsenal told
- Arsenal eye player Lionel Messi claimed to be ‘similar to Xavi’
- Arsenal urged to buy ‘January transfer window bargain’ for £6m
In the Premier League Aston Villa have gone eight hours and 42 minutes without scoring. That’s five games without a goal and have netted just 11 times this season – the lowest in the Premier League.
The return of Christian Benteke who has managed three goals in his last four Premier League games against Arsenal will be a boost for the visitors but Villa have not won for 7 Premier League games.
2. Arsenal’s stellar run
The Gunners have enjoyed a fantastic run since the festive period (bar the blip at Southampton) and are looking for their third consecutive league victory and clean sheet.
David Ospina has yet to concede a goal in the Premier League since his promotion as the first choice shot stopper in recent weeks.
Arsenal beat Manchester City 2-0 convincingly two weeks ago with a excellent rounded performance and will expect to build on that (and the 3-2 cup win over Brighton) with all three points today.
3. Arsenal’s frightening attack force
Santi Cazorla has emerged as Arsenal’s midfield key man recently with some all action Man of the Match performances. Even without Alexis Sanchez today the return of recent goal scorers Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott to the lineup is one exciting forward line.
Throw an in-form Olivier Giroud in the mix and Villa be wetting their pants. The Frenchman has netted four times in five Premier League games including the superb header against City.
4. We’re far from a ‘one man team’
Alexis Sanchez has been our most efficient outlet this season but incredibly our last 13 goals have been scored by 10 different players. The aforementioned attacking quartet above as well as Tomas Rosicky have chimed in with important finishes. Scoring goals shouldn’t be a problem today.
5. Defensive resilience
A strong back line has been key to our recent success but also Francis Coquelin anchoring the midfield. The Frenchman was rested against Brighton and will help to marshall the midfield once again today. With the Mertscielny axis back in action and Ospina confident between the sticks, another clean sheet should be well on the cards.