'In a heartbeat' Why Aston Villa should be in buoyant mood ahead of Arsenal


Aston Villa head to Arsenal on Sunday hoping for better luck in London after defeats previously against Crystal Palace and Spurs.

Dean Smith’s side are coming off the back of a goalless draw against West Ham United – despite the Hammers having 10 men for the final 20 minutes.

On Thursday, we crunched the stats following Monday’s dour draw and, in truth, they made for grim reading for Villa’s front three. Jota, Anwar El Ghazi and Wesley had disappointing nights in B6 and failed to live up to previous performances at Villa Park.

And while Villa currently lie in 17th-place having secured four points from their opening five games, Ashley Preece explains why supporters should be optimistic ahead of going to the Emirates…

Arsenal’s self-destructive defence

First off, let’s start with Villa’s opponents on Sunday. Arsenal possess firepower in abundance and have arguably the league’s hottest striker right now in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Last season’s 22-goal golden boot winner has continued from where he left off and has five goals from five already.

However, the Gunners have always been an attacking force but, at the back, that’s where their problems continue to lie. At Watford last week, the Hornets had a staggering 31 attempts on Bernd Leno’s goal, 10 of which were on target. Quique Sánchez Flores’s side got the better of Arsenal in the second half and pressed centre-backs Sokratis and David Luiz, both of whom made comical errors leading to Watford’s two goals.

“The second half was everything bad about Arsenal for the last 15 years condensed into 45 minutes,” explained football.london’s Arsenal correspondent, James Benge. “It said a lot that Granit Xhaka admitted after the game that Arsenal were ‘scared’, this is a team that lacks character and loses its cool in stressful situations. The centre-backs were making pretty basic errors, the midfield was one-paced and the strikers were isolated.”

SOURCE: birminghammail.co.uk


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