Aston Villa v Arsenal – Villa Park at 13:30 live on Sky Sports 1
Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal travel to the midlands on the back of a famous escape in their final Champions League group game, where they won 3-0 at Olympiakos to secure an unlikely place in the knockout stages next year.
Midweek hat-trick hero Olivier Giroud will be looking to keep his impressive run of goal scoring form (he has 10 in his last 13 games), going this weekend against bottom of the league Aston Villa. A win on Sunday afternoon would see the Gunners claim top spot, at least for a day until Leicester City host Chelsea on Monday night.
Ex-Arsenal player Remi Garde recently took charge at Aston Villa and the new manager will be looking to cause a shock upset against his old gaffer, Arsene Wenger who bought Garde to Arsenal back in 1996.
However, the young Frenchman has had a tough start to life in the English Premier League with two draws and two defeats from his first four games in charge. On top of having to find a way for Villa to pull out of their relegation nose dive, he has had to deal with the childish behaviour of young star Jack Grealish.
At least the Villan’s managed to claim a draw at Southampton in their last league game, but hosting an in form and confident Arsenal side will be a different kettle of fish this weekend.
Their solitary win of the season came way back on the opening day at newcomers Bournemouth and since then they have only managed to pick up three more points from their fourteen other games. The most impressive result of the season so far, was a 0-0 home draw against Manchester City in Garde’s first game in charge.
However, there have been some small signs of life from the corpse of a team which Garde has been left to resuscitate. They performed much better in their two most recent matches and although they only came away with one point to show for their efforts in those games, the fact that they were at least competitive is a step in the right direction.
Arsenal’s form of late has not been great either, having won just one of their past four Premier League encounters, they are wasting opportunities to pull away from the two Manchester clubs and struggling to keep up with Leicester.
Wenger of course has a host of injuries to deal with as usual but, the Gunners have a strong away record this season and have beaten Villa eight times in their last ten meetings, including three victories of 3-0, 4-0 and 5-0 last season.
Looking at the prices in the market for this match, I was slightly surprised to see the Gunners at 1.60 to win the game. My model price makes them just a shade under 5% value at that price and despite their injury concerns, the form of Mesut Ozil and Giroud in particular, means I will be looking to profit from an Arsenal win weekend.
The Asian Handicap betting line for this match is +/-1 and despite Aston Villa being more competitive of late, I can’t see anything but a win for the North London side and a routine 2-0 victory on the road would be no shock under the circumstances.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Arsenal -1 at 2.02
Prices correct at the time of writing.
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