Arsenal - Aston Villa Preview: Gunners have lost just once to the visitors in their last six meetings
Alex McLeish's side head to the Emirates Stadium off the back of only one win in seven matches, but the the West Midlands club are unbeaten in their last three games
By Alex Young
Sagna, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Gibbs
Gervinho, Arteta, Song, Oxlade-Chamberlain
Hutton, Collins, Cuellar, Warnock
Albrighton, Petrov, Bannan, N'Zogbia
Arsenal have no new injury worries to contend with for the clash against Aston Villa, so expect Arsene Wenger to rotate slightly after facing a tough Everton side just three days previously.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gervinho may come in with Theo Walcott and Tomas Rosicky relegated to the bench.
Jack Wilshere (ankle), Abou Diaby (hamstring), Sebastian Squillaci (groin) and Francis Coquelin (hamstring) are nearing a return to fitness, but are not expected to make a comeback before the end of March.
For Alex McLeish, along with Darren Bent being sidelined for the remainder of the season, defenders Richard Dunne (collar) and Ciaran Clark (knee) will occupy the treatment table until early April.
Unfortunately, McLeish does not have the same squad depth that Wenger enjoys, so the more-or-less the same side who beat Fulham 1-0 last time out could feature. Barry Bannan replacing the inexperienced Chris Herd in the centre of midfield could be the only change.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- The two sides met in the FA Cup in January (pictured right) when Arsenal came from two goals down to win 3-2.
- Mikel Arteta has the most attempted passes in the Premier League with 1892.
- Arsenal’s last defeat at the Emirates was the 2-1 loss against Manchester United in January.
- Aston Villa’s last away victory was in the same weekend, against strugglers Wolves.
- In their last six meetings, Aston Villa have won just once against the Gunners.
- Aston Villa have managed just one win from their last seven outings in all competitions, but are unbeaten in their last three.
- The two sides have faced each other 183 times over the years, with Arsenal victorious 74 times, compared to Aston Villa's 65, and 44 meetings ending all square.
- Robin van Persie is the league's leading scorer, notching 26 goals so far this season. Van Persie is 9/4 with Bet365 to score two or more against Aston Villa.
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Top 3 Predictions
Arsenal FC 3-0 Aston Villa
- 21.74 %
Arsenal FC 3-1 Aston Villa
- 18.65 %
Arsenal FC 2-0 Aston Villa
- 14.98 %
|Premier League (EPL)||23 Feb 2013||Arsenal FC 2 - Aston Villa 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||24 Nov 2012||Aston Villa 0 - Arsenal FC 0|
|Premier League (EPL)||24 Mar 2012||Arsenal FC 3 - Aston Villa 0|
|FA Cup (FA)||29 Jan 2012||Arsenal FC 3 - Aston Villa 2|
|Premier League (EPL)||21 Dec 2011||Aston Villa 1 - Arsenal FC 2|
|19 May 2013||Newcastle United 0 - Arsenal FC 1||EPL|
|14 May 2013||Arsenal FC 4 - Wigan Athletic 1||EPL|
|4 May 2013||QPR 0 - Arsenal FC 1||EPL|
|28 Apr 2013||Arsenal FC 1 - Manchester United 1||EPL|
|20 Apr 2013||Fulham 0 - Arsenal FC 1||EPL|
|Returns:||Arsenal £13.64||Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
|Returns:||Draw £360.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Returns:||Aston Villa £710.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|20||Robin van Persie||Striker|
|24||Carlos Javier Cuéllar||Defender|
So, as the cliche goes, he is due a good game. Keep an eye on him against Aston Villa.
However, the Frenchman will no doubt be keen to impress against his one-time admirers after performing well against them in recent seasons.
McLeish's men are desperate for points after the relegation-threatened Blackburn and QPR recently picked up points, but they won't be gaining any of their own at the Emirates this weekend.