Arsenal travel to Villa Park on December 9 in a match that will test their title credentials to the fullest.
Unai Emery has turned the Aston Villa home ground into a fortress, winning 14 in a row. Their last home defeat came against Arsenal back in February of this year. If Mikel Arteta’s side wants to take all three points today, they will have to play at their best whilst nullifying the multidimensional threat of this Villa side.
How Arsenal Can Beat In-Form Aston Villa
Take the Sting Out of the Attacking Threat
One of the main problems sides have against this Emery side is their relentless push for goals. As seen in their last game against Manchester City, they don’t rest on their laurels and sit back. Arteta, speaking about their opponents, said they have “the intensity and the belief at the moment that they can go and beat anybody.” When they have an advantage, they want to build further on it, so if they score, there is a high chance that they will continue coming at you in a way that doesn’t let you breathe.
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Villa have scored 34 goals in the league this season, only second to Man City, and a massive 54 goals in all competitions. They have five players that have 5+ goals in all competitions. The Gunners will have to be wary of the threat they face from all over the pitch – as well as their star striker Ollie Watkins – who has 18 goals this season.
The Arsenal defensive core of William Saliba, Gabriel Magalhaes and Declan Rice will be pivotal in taking away the Villa threat, and they will hope to be supported by solid displays from David Raya and Oleksandr Zinchenko, who are prone to errors.
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Control is the Aim of Mikel Arteta’s Side
One of the key aims set by the Arsenal manager this season is to seize control of games and play as high up the pitch as possible. This shows in their away record since the start of last season, where the North Londoners have 17 wins and 55 points accumulated away from Emirates Stadium, more than any other side in the Premier League.
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This Arsenal side manages the balance between poise and grit very well. They can dig deep when needed and dictate passages of play by working the ball well across the pitch. Arteta may want to bring in Jorginho to sit alongside Rice in midfield to add extra solidity and control, which would help halt the threat of Villa’s dangerous transitions. Jorginho can slow the game down, and in a massive clash at the top of the table – his expertise may prove vital to taking all three points.