High-flying Aston Villa welcome Arsenal to Villa Park this evening in an intriguing Premier League clash between two of the best sides this season.
The Villans have won their last 14 home league matches and would have to be seen as serious title challengers if that run extends here.
Unai Emery‘s men beat Manchester City 1-0 in midweek, but the scoreline doesn’t reflect just how good the home side were, limiting City to very little and creating plenty of chances themselves.
And Emery would love to get one over his former team as the Gunners look to extend their lead at the top of the table and continue their push for top-flight glory.
Aston Villa vs Arsenal: Emery out for revenge
In the end, Emery’s time at Arsenal was disappointing despite an excellent start.
The Spaniard became the first Gunners boss after Arsene Wenger and started with a 22-game unbeaten streak.
Read more on Premier League
But the end of the 2018/19 campaign proved to be rough for Emery and Arsenal as the club missed out on Champions League football, finishing fifth, while Chelsea smashed them 4-1 in the Europa League final.
In the summer of 2019, the Gunners splashed the cash and brought in Nicolas Pepe for £72million, among others.
But after a decent start, things fell apart, and a 2-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League was the final straw.
Rumours of the dressing room turning and talking about him behind his back can’t have helped, but he’s back in the Premier League and proving he’s an elite manager.
A win here would be very sweet for the Spaniard.
- Aston Villa have lost their last four Premier League games against Arsenal, since winning three games in a row without conceding between July 2020 and February 2021.
- Arsenal have lost just two of their last 21 away Premier League games against Aston Villa (W12 D7), losing consecutively in 2019-20 and 2020-21.
- Against no side have Arsenal won more Premier League away games than they have against Aston Villa (14, same as West Ham), with their 14 wins at Villa Park also their joint-most at a specific away venue in the competition (also 14 at Selhurst Park – 9 wins vs Crystal Palace and 5 vs Wimbledon).
Aston Villa vs Arsenal: Team news
The hosts are set to be without Emi Buendia and Tyrone Mings.
Both have ACL injuries and are a long way from returning to fitness.
Bertrand Traore is also out, but apart from that trio, they have no further issues.
Meanwhile, Arsenal are set to be without Takehiro Tomiyasu for an extended period of time due to a calf injury.
Emile Smith Rowe, Fabio Vieira and Thomas Partey aren’t expected to return until the new year.
And Jurrien Timber’s season looks to be over due to an ACL.
- Aston Villa are winless in eight Premier League games against sides starting the day top of the table (D1 L7), losing each of the last five in a row. Their last such victory was in March 2014 (1-0 vs Chelsea).
- Aston Villa have won their last 14 home Premier League matches, a run stretching back to March. They’ve never won 15 consecutive home league games in their entire history, previous having 14 wins in a row ending in November 1903 and October 1931.
- Since the start of last season, Arsenal have won more away games (17) and more away points (55) than any other Premier League side. The Gunners have also conceded fewer goals on the road than any other ever-present side in that time (24).
Aston Villa vs Arsenal: What has been said?
Gabby Agbonlahor believes that Arsenal should be scared of his former club.
Speaking exclusively to talkSPORT, he said: “You know what’s bigger than the game as well? Unai Emery, it didn’t go well for him at Arsenal.
“He’s going to have a bee in his bonnet to say ‘you know what, I’m going to beat Arsenal’.
“If they play like they did against Man City, then it’s going to be one hell of a game.
“I don’t like to say Villa will win, I normally say draw, but the way they played yesterday and the energy at Villa Park… I had friends and family at the stadium and it was frightening.”
- Aston Villa’s Leon Bailey has been involved in eight goals in his last 12 Premier League appearances (5 goals, 3 assists), scoring the winner against Man City last time out. The Jamaican hasn’t completed 90 minutes in any of those games, averaging a goal or assist every 63 minutes.
- Three of Unai Emery’s five meetings with Arsenal in all competitions have finished level (W1 L1). His only defeat against the Gunners came in his only game against them as Aston Villa boss so far, losing 4-2 in this exact fixture last season.
- Gabriel Jesus has been involved in six goals in his last five appearances in all competitions for Arsenal, both scoring and assisting a goal in three separate games in this run.
Aston Villa vs Arsenal: How to follow
This Premier League clash will take place on Saturday, December 9.
Kick-off at Villa Park is scheduled for 5:30pm.
The match will be broadcast on Sky Sports Main Event and Premier League.
Sky Go customers will be able to stream the action through their laptops and mobile devices.
talkSPORT will have regular updates throughout the afternoon from Villa Park.