Arsenal vs. Aston Villa: Top of the Table Gunners to Continue 100% Record With Big Win
Wednesday 31st August - 19:30
Arsenal have gone out of the blocks in unstoppable form though many may argue that any attempt to back the Gunners with your Premier League bets may be based on something of a false premise.
Mikel Arteta’s side have clinched four wins from their opening four games, but it’s worth noting, as many pundits and those who do not have the greatest respect for the North London club, that the matches they’ve started the season with have not been the most challenging.
Gunners On the March
Having started the season with wins over Crystal Palace, Leicester City, and Bournemouth, the sense of optimism in the red half of North London was palpable, and that will only have increased following their comeback win over Fulham on the weekend.
Though the display from Arteta’s side was arguably the worst of the season, the way they showed character to recover from Aleksandar Mitrovic’s opener, coming after centre-back Gabriel dithered on the ball, to beat their local rivals was very much a statement of intent.
Martin Odegaard, now Arsenal’s captain, led from the front and netted the leveller before Gabriel atoned for his earlier error to score from close range and make it twelve points from twelve. It’s true that the opening fixtures have been kind to Arteta, but Arsenal can only win the games that are put in front of them.
It’s now almost two decades since Arsene Wenger led his Arsenal side to their last Premier League title, with the 2003-04 campaign coming without a defeat (the culmination of which gave us The Invincibles).
While talk of a title may be a little too premature, there is a feeling that the young side assembled by Arteta is one with a bright future.
Making it five wins from five would certainly lead to increased talk of a genuine Premier League title challenge, and they host a side that is in all sorts of trouble, and in theory, the visit of Aston Villa should hold no fears for Arsenal.
They may be without Ukrainian wide-man Oleksandr Zinchenko and Thomas Partey, who both missed the win over Fulham, but there is decent depth in Arteta’s squad, and the home fans will be looking to secure yet another three-point haul.
Gerrard Under Pressure
While it’s undeniable that as a player, Steven Gerrard was nothing less than a legendary world-class performer, his managerial credentials are being severely tested. The former Liverpool midfielder did a good job at Rangers, but he hasn’t impressed since taking over at Aston Villa back in November 2021.
The Midlands side decided to sack Dean Smith, and Gerrard was brought in with the club in a precarious 16th place, and though the incoming manager experienced the customary bounce of good form on taking over, it didn’t last long.
Aston Villa saw out the season with two wins from their final 11 games and finished the campaign in 14th place. Gerrard then set about improving his underachieving squad over the summer and started by making the loan move for Philippe Coutinho a permanent one and spent £26m on Sevilla defender Diego Carlos and signed experienced Swedish keeper Robin Olsen.
Thus far, things have not improved. Defeats to Bournemouth and Crystal Palace sandwiched a narrow win over equally beleaguered Everton, but the home defeat to West Ham led to a chorus of boos from the Villa Park faithful, and questions are already being asked about Gerrard’s long-term future at the club.
He now sits behind only Leicester City’s Brendan Rodgers in the Premier League sack race, and if Villa doesn’t start to pick up form, then the likely departure of the 42-year-old manager may start to feel inevitable.
Arsenal to win 4-0 - 22/1
Arsenal have had no issues finding the back of the net, and we have a feeling that Aston Villa may end up bearing the brunt of a never-ending series of attacks from an in-form front-three of Gabriel Martinelli, Gabriel Jesus, and Bukayo Saka.
Add to that the constant threat from midfield general Martin Odegaard (who already has three goals to his name), and Gerrard may well feel he needs to pack the defence and hope for a counter-attacking response.