Aston Villa v Arsenal: Gunners to blow hole in Villans' survival hopes

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith
Dean Smith's Aston Villa side could be relegated without a positive result against Arsenal

Andrew Atherley says Arsenal can expose the poor defence of the relegation-threatened hosts...

"Villa's defensive weaknesses have been exposed in most matches against the better teams and their home record when conceding is W2 D1 L9."

Recommended Bet
Back Arsenal off -1 on the Asian handicap at [3.1]

Aston Villa v Arsenal
Tuesday 21 July, 20:15
Live on Sky Sports

Three points needed

Villa were handed a lifeline by West Ham's decisive 3-1 win over Watford on Friday night, which means they could escape the drop with one win from their last two matches.

Dean Smith's side need to find a win from somewhere because anything less than three points out of six will put them down and they will know more about the task facing them after the result of Watford v Manchester City, which immediately precedes this match.

Matt Targett is likely to continue at left-back in place of Neil Taylor, who has a hamstring injury, and it would be no surprise to see Keinan Davis given the striker role instead of Mbwana Samatta.

Route to Europe

Arsenal are coming off their tremendous 2-0 win over Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final on Saturday night and that competition appears to offer their best route to Europe next season, although there is still the possibility of a Europa League place via their Premier League finishing position.

Mikel Arteta has plenty of options to freshen up his team, with exciting forward Bukayo Saka, midfielder Lucas Torreira and defender Rob Holding all on the bench against City having started last Wednesday's 2-1 home league win over champions Liverpool.

Defensive weaknesses

Villa have won only once at home since the restart, 2-0 against Crystal Palace, and a low rate of return at Villa Park is a chief reason for their league position.

Their only other home wins since the start of December were against fellow strugglers Norwich (1-0) and Watford (2-1) and their home record against top-half teams is W0 D2 L7, which does not inspire much confidence.

Villa's defensive weaknesses have been exposed in most matches against the better teams and their home record when conceding is W2 D1 L9, with the points coming against Burnley, Brighton and Watford, who are all among the lower-scoring away sides (averaging no better than a goal per away game).

Everton are the lowest-placed team Arsenal have failed to score against on the road but they have defensive frailties of their own and their away record of W3 D6 L3 when scoring is not that good.

Arteta hasn't really improved Arsenal's away form yet with a record of W2 D4 L3 in the Premier League, although the wins have come since the restart (plus they won at Sheffield United in the FA Cup quarter-final) and their only blanks on the road have been on testing trips to Burnley and Manchester City.

Arsenal may be a little short at [2.15] but the away win is the most likely result on form, especially on the back of the past week's wins over the best two teams in England.

Arsenal to win and both teams to score is worth considering with these shaky defences, but the selection for juicier odds is Arsenal off -1 on the Asian handicap at [3.1], which is a successful bet if they win by two or more goals, and no bet if they win by a single goal.

High goals figures

Both teams lean towards over 2.5 goals overall (Aston Villa 61% and Arsenal 56%).

Villa's figures are the same home and away, but Arsenal edge towards under 2.5 goals on the road (56%).

With the home side needing to keep attacking unless they have a lead to protect, it is no surprise that over 2.5 goals is clear favourite at [1.72].

Opta Stat

Arsenal have won their last seven meetings with Aston Villa in all competitions by an aggregate score of 23-3. The Gunners are [25] for a 3-0 win.

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Andrew Atherley,

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