It’s been a long and tedious summer for all of us so far.
We’ve successfully removed most of the deadwood but failed to make a
significant first team signing, leaving us with an extremely small squad
(including Frimpong, Bendtner, Sanogo and Park in the first squad) to face
Aston Villa at home in the season’s opener. Of course there is still a few weeks to go until the window
closes; but that’s another post for another time.
Villa on the other hand have added a couple of players,
namely the promising center half Jorres Okore and Danish striker Nicklas
Helenius who scored a couple for them on their tour of Germany for pre-season.
The Villians will also be boosted due to Christian Benteke doing a U-turn on
his proposal to leave the club, instead signing a new contract with the club,
while also convincing their other stand out player for me last year Andreas
Weimann to put pen to paper in another three year deal.
Many in the media are suggesting that this is Arsene
Wenger’s most important opening fixture in his tenure as Arsenal manager.
Expectations are (rightly so) high this season, after Ivan Gazidis confirmed
we’ve got a war chest to spend on the type of proven quality that our squad is
sadly lacking. That isn’t me saying that our starting XI isn’t full of
international quality – but if you compare our squad to Manchester City,
Manchester United, Chelsea or and it absolutely kills me saying this, even
Tottenham’s squad it’s a no starter. To clarify, I think our XI can beat any on
its day (proved in Munich) but our squad is lacking the standard of players
that we desperately need to circumnavigate the inconvenience of injuries to our
Having given an impressive display against Manchester City
last Saturday, expectations were pushed higher again. Although it was only a
friendly, we were winning all the battles in all the key areas. It was, I would say, the only real
challenge we’ve faced in pre-season, having travelled to the Far East on tour.
Aston Villa will be keen to keep their pre-season form up after rounding off
their games with a 3-2 victory over Malaga. Despite The Villains poor season
last year seeing them finish in fifteenth place, I was impressed when I watch
them with some of their football, but they can blow hot and cold – not dissimilar
to us in some ways.
Head to Head &
Arsenal have triumphed in this fixture thirteen
times, while Villa have managed just two wins against us. We have drawn seven
times in this fixture.
Arsenal finished the season with an unbeaten run
of ten games, starting at Swansea and culminating at Newcastle.
Christian Benteke scored twenty three times in
all competitions last season.
Arsenal finished the season with a +55 goal
difference on Aston Villa.
Aston Villa won just over half of the games Arsenal
won last season (Arsenal 21 – Villa 10)
Match Facts /
Betting Statistics –
In Aston Villa’s last eleven away games there
has been over 2.5 goals. Contrast
that with Arsenal – in our last five games there have been under 1.5 goals.
Arsenal and Aston Villa have seen over 2.5 goals in their last five games against each
other when played at The Emirates.
Arsenal have won eight of their last ten in The Premier League.
are Undefeated in twenty seven of the last twenty nine against Aston Villa.
Team News –
Podolski and Mertesacker only played a half each
for Germany in midweek, while Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott played most of the
game for their respective nations.
Aaron Ramsey pulled out of international action
on Wednesday night but is in contention for a start.
Bacary Sagna, Mikel Arteta & Santi Cazorla
are all doubts.
Thomas Vermalean & Abou Diaby are both
Aston Villa –
Andreas Weimann played the full ninety minuets
for Austria, while Christian Benteke was only used as a late substitute by
Belgium. New signing Aleksander Tonev was taken off after the second half for
I’ll leave you with a nice graphic I found on The
Independent that highlights the statistics in this match. As ever, Up The
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conversation with me @RyArsenal.