Aston Villa v Arsenal – Match Preview

Paul Lambert's Villa are desperate to claim the three points to climb out of the relegation zoneAston Villa will be looking to claim their first victory over Arsenal at Villa Park in 14 years when the two sides meet on Saturday.

Villa have endured a torrid time when hosting four-time English Premier League winners Arsenal in recent years.

Although they left Emirates Stadium with all three points last year, the 1981/82 European champions have not beaten Arsenal on home soil since December 1998.

On that day Villa overcame a Dennis Bergkamp brace to win 3-2 thanks to Dion Dublin’s double and a goal from Julian Joachim.

A lot has changed since that season that saw Villa finish sixth, with the club fighting relegation for the second successive campaign.

Paul Lambert’s men have lost two games on the trot against both Manchester clubs and sit third from the bottom, two points adrift of Wigan and safety.

The former Norwich manager will be forced to watch the match from the stands after receiving a one-game ban for ‘improper conduct’ during his side’s 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Manchester City last week.

And they will face a difficult task against an Arsenal side unbeaten in four games in all competitions.

After producing a lacklustre display against Manchester United at the start of November, Arsene Wenger’s men have won two and draw two.

They have also netted 12 goals, including four from Frenchman Olivier Giroud, although an alarming seven goals have been conceded.

Wednesday’s 2-0 win at home to Montpellier saw midfielder Jack Wilshere net his first goal since returning from a 14-month layoff with an ankle problem.

On the injury front, striker Darren Bent is expected to return from an ankle complaint but Chris Herd, Richard Dunne, Joe Bennett and Charles N’Zogbia remained sidelined for Villa.

As for Arsenal, winger Theo Walcott is set to make the trip to Villa Park after sitting out the midweek Champions League match, but Abou Diaby and Andre Santos are not expected to play.

Prediction: Aston Villa 1 – 3 Arsenal


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