Aston Villa v Arsenal betting preview

Arsene Wenger takes his side to Villa Park on Wednesday looking to continue the form that saw them go top, albeit temporarily, of the Barclays Premier League last week  Since being humbled at home by Chelsea at the end of November, Arsenal have won eight and drawn two of their ten league games. That run included a comprehensive 3-0 victory at home to Aston Villa.

Meanwhile, Martin O’Neill has steered his side into the final of the League Cup, and the fifth round of the FA Cup whilst maintaining their push for a Champions League place. They have enjoyed fantastic success against the Premier League’s elite this season, defeating Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool in the first half of the season. They will be looking to complete the quartet when they face Arsenal at Villa Park.

Expect to see a much changed Arsenal team from the one that crashed out of the FA Cup at the Britannia Stadium on Sunday. Only Cesc Fabregas and Denilson are expected to survive the 3-1 defeat, with the likes of Andrey Arshavin, Thomas Vermaelen, and William Gallas returning to the starting eleven. With Arsenal’s injury problems finally showing signs of improving they will be able to name their strongest bench for a while. Nicklas Bendtner and Samir Nasri are both set to take their places as subs after time out with groin and hamstring problems respectively.

With Arsenal entering judgement fortnight (the game at Villa Park is followed by ties with Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool) they will be hoping that their captain can avoid injury and maintain the form that has seen him touted as a potential player of the year. Cesc Fabregas is the clubs top goalscorer with twelve, and leads the Premier League assists charts with thirteen. Although Fabregas has been the driving force of the side this season,  they have scored goals from all over the park. Seven players have scored five or more times, including three midfielders (Fabregas, Denilson and Diaby) and one defender (Vermaelen).

Villa  have had Stephen Warnock and Mark Albrighton added to their absentees after the pair picked up knocks against Brighton on the weekend. They will be buoyed by progression in both cup competitions, but in particular by booking their place at Wembley for the League Cup final. Martin O’Neill has put together a team that plays flowing, attractive football, and like Arsenal they have four or five players capable of scoring at any time. England World Cup hopefuls Gabby Agbonlahor, Ashley Young and James Milner have scored 23 times between them, and will require particular attention from the Arsenal back four.

Tips

Over 2.5 goals (9/10 Bet365 ) – Villa’s last two games have produced 16 goal, and the visitors are the leagues top goalscorers this season.

To be leading after 15 minutes (Arsenal 9/2 Will Hill) – Expect the well rested visitors to explode out of the blocks as they look to put right the weekends loss so Stoke.

Richard Dunne First/anytime goalscorer (33/1 Blue Square and 10/1 Paddy Power) – Arsenal typically struggle to deal with free kicks and corners, and the Irish defender has three headed goals to his name this season.


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