clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Who do you think should start for Aston Villa against Arsenal?

Both teams will be looking to bounce back from disappointing results in midweek, but what can Aston Villa expect from Arsenal on Saturday evening?

Aston Villa v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images

Following a poor performance on Thursday night, Aston Villa will be looking to bounce back as they welcome Arsenal to Villa Park.

Arsenal go into the game on the back of a disappointing result against Wolverhampton Wanderers, which saw both David Luiz and Bernd Leno sent off.

Villa will take great encouragement from this as both players will, therefore, be suspended for Saturday.

Arsenal have had a discouraging first half to the season as they sit in 10th place.

While recent results have improved for Arsenal, Villa will see this game as an opportunity to add pressure to the current top 6, but what can Villa expect from this current Arsenal side?

Let’s look at the stats

Under manager, Mikel Arteta, Arsenal are a side that look to keep hold of the ball and keep it moving with a high number of passes.

Arsenal are one of only 5 sides in the Premier League to achieve more than 10,000 passes this season.

This style of play is no surprise considering Arteta learnt his trade from Pep Guardiola.


While Arsenal are completing a high number of passes, this is not leading to a higher number of shots, as the below graph portrays.


The graph compares the amount of passes each team is having per shot with the amount of touches they are having in their own defensive third.

It is clear to see that Arsenal are having a lot of possession in non-threatening areas that are rarely resulting in shots.

It’s also worth noting how intense Villa attacks have been this season with the lowest amount of passes per shot in the Premier League.

When Villa get the ball, they only seem to have one thought and that’s to score.

Another stat that Dean Smith will possibly look to take advantage of is Arsenal’s poor aerial presence.

In terms of aerial duels won, Arsenal are bottom of the table in the Premier League this season.

With David Luiz out of the picture through suspension, set-pieces and crosses into the box may be a rewarding route for Aston Villa to explore.


However, generally, Arsenal are proving to be a difficult side to break down, having only conceded 19 goals this season.

This equates to only 0.86 goals per game, which is the 2nd best rate in the Premier League.

Despite this, Arsenal have had an expected goals against of 1.18 per game.

This suggests that the Gunners have been let off by some poor finishing from opposition attackers.

One to watch

Bukayo Saka is making quite the impression in the Premier League for Arsenal this season.

The 19-year-old has 5 goals and 2 assists from the left side of midfield and is proving to be a handful for Premier League defences.

Southampton v Arsenal - Premier League Photo by Frank Augstein - Pool/Getty Images

Saka is a player who likes to dribble with the ball from the left-hand side.

He has carried the ball a total 660 times this season with 18 of these being into the penalty box; meaning it will be a good battle down Arsenal’s left between Saka and Matty Cash.

In addition, Saka has created 3.34 shot creating actions per game and 0.4 goal creating chances per game.

For Aston Villa, the key to a clean sheet could be in keeping Bukayo Saka quiet.

Last time out

In their last game, Arsenal were defeated by Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux as the visitors were reduced to 9 men.

Despite being in control of the game, the two red cards were a huge turning point.

Arsenal had taken the lead and were unfortunate for it not to be more than 1 – 0 as they hit the woodwork twice before David Luiz conceded a penalty and was dismissed at the end of the first half.

The second half saw the game go in favor of Wolves, who were able to secure the three points.

Possible line-ups

There are no new fresh injury concerns for Aston Villa as they still wait for Wesley and Kortney Hause to return.

Morgan Sanson could line-up for his first start in claret and blue as Ross Barkley struggled to make an impact in the game against West Ham.

The visitors will be without David Luiz and Bernd Leno as they both face suspensions.

With back-up keeper, Matt Ryan, also nursing a hip injury, Arsenal will look to Runar Alex Runarsson to make his first Premier League start.

Who do you think should start for Aston Villa as they face Arsenal? Fill in the form below and we will announce a ‘Fans XI’ before kick-off.