Arsene Wenger takes his North London side to Villa Park.
Impressive wins over Tottenham and Montpellier have helped to improve the mood at Arsenal and Arsene Wenger will hope to return from his side’s trip to Villa Park with something to show for his efforts and a helpful push up back towards the top four.
Aston Villa were thrashed 5-0 by Man City last weekend but ran Man United close before losing 3-2 in their last home fixture against Man United. Paul Lambert’s side haven’t won a home league game in over two months and the Scot will hope to correct that statistic against the Gunners.
Venue Villa Park, Saturday 5.30pm
Last season Aston Villa 1 Arsenal 2
Referee Lee Mason
This season’s matches 7 Y34, R0, 3.43 cards per game
Odds Aston Villa 17-4 Arsenal 8-11 Draw 25-8
Subs from Given, Marshall, El Ahmadi, Albrighton, Delph, Holman, Bent, Lichaj, Burke, Baker, Bowery, Williams, Carruthers
Injured Bennett (knee, 8 Dec), Herd (knee, 8 Dec), N’Zogbia (knee, 8 Dec), Gardner (knee, May), Dunne (groin, unknown), Petrov (leukaemia, unknown)
Form guide LLWDLL
Disciplinary record Y25 R2
Leading scorers Bent, Benteke, Weimann 2
Subs from Mannone, Martínez, Gnabry, Chamberlain, Ramsey, Squillaci, Djourou, Coquelin, Arshavin, Jenkinson, Chamakh, Miquel, Gibbs, Yennaris
Injured Walcott (shoulder, 28 Nov), Diaby (thigh, 1 Dec), André Santos (stomach, 8 Dec), Rosicky (calf, 22 Dec), Fabianski (ankle, Jan)
Form guide WDLWLW
Disciplinary record Y12 R1
Leading scorers Cazorla, Giroud, Podolski 4
SOURCE: The Guardian
Aston Villa haven’t beaten Arsenal at home in 13 attempts since coming from two goals down to win 3-2 in December 1998 (D6, L7).
Arsenal have lost only two of their subsequent 27 league meetings with Villa. The Gunners also overturned a 2-0 deficit in the FA Cup fourth round last season to beat Villa 3-2 at the Emirates Stadium.
Villa have only won one of their last 10 home games in the Premier League (W1, D5, L4).
They have earned only 24 points from their 31 games in 2012 – the lowest tally of any Premier League club.
Their tally of nine points from 12 games is their joint-lowest at this stage of a Premier League season. They made a similar start in 2005-06 and finished 16th.
The 5-0 defeat by Manchester City last weekend was Villa’s heaviest loss since the 6-0 thrashing at Newcastle in August 2010.
Paul Lambert’s side have the third worst goalscoring and defensive records in the division; 17 of the 22 goals they have conceded have come in the second half.
The Villans have only gained one point from losing positions this season.
Darren Bent has scored six goals in seven Premier League starts against Arsenal.
Arsenal have recorded their lowest points tally after 12 matches under Arsene Wenger. They last fared worse in the 1994-95 season, when they had 18 points from the first 12 games.
The Gunners conceded just seven goals in their opening nine matches in all competitions but have let in 18 goals in their last 10 fixtures.
Nonetheless, they are the only team yet to concede in the final 15 minutes of a Premier League match this season.
Olivier Giroud has scored five goals in his last six appearances for Arsenal in all competitions, including four in the last four.
Lukas Podolski is the only player in the Premier League to be substituted in all 12 of his side’s matches this season.
SOURCE: BBC Sport