The action keeps coming thick and fast in this relentless Premier League campaign with the trend of stacked games continuing on through the weekend. Arsenal will be getting back to business when they make the trip up to the Midlands to take on Aston Villa. Both sides have had their fair share of ups and downs so far this season but both possess very realistic top six ambitions, and a win here could bolster their chances quite substantially.
For the Gunners especially, though, a defeat could set them back in a big way.
They may not quite have the consistency required to mix it up with the big boys all season long, but Aston Villa are already faring so much better than they did last season when they were almost relegated back down to the Championship. Dean Smith has put together an organised unit that balances solid defensive players with some really promising attacking stars. Whether or not that’ll be enough for them to qualify for Europe remains to be seen, but right now, they certainly don’t have to be concerning themselves with the bottom three.
Mikel Arteta doesn’t exactly have a free pass to do whatever he wants this season, but we do think there’s a certain level of understanding behind the fact that he’s in the midst of a rebuild at the Emirates. Fans who are expecting things to change overnight are kidding themselves, and even though there are going to be some rough waters to navigate through in the months to come, sticking with the manager feels like the sensible thing to do.
We’re expecting this to be a really entertaining game between two teams who, when given the opportunity to do so, can let loose and play some really attractive football. They’ll both be hesitant to pull the trigger early on but once they’ve been dragged into the firefight, there will be no turning back. We think Arsenal will be the ones to set the pace early on before Villa have to try and claw their way back into the game, ending in a 2-2 result.
That probably isn’t going to be viewed as good enough for either set of supporters, but as we’ve already alluded to, the unpredictability of this Premier League campaign means all of our standard expectations should probably be pushed to one side.
Can Arsenal get back to winning ways?