Arsenal start their Premier League campaign after a frustrating off-season which has seen them struggle to acquire new players despite “an escalation in their financial firepower”. However, with a strong finish to last season which saw them unbeaten in 10 games, and the return of midfielder Jack Wilshere from injury, Arsenal fans will be expecting a strong start to the season.
Aston Villa struggled away from home last season and Villa fans will hope the addition of Jores Okore and Antonio Luna will strengthen their defence. Last season’s top scorer, Christian Benteke (19 goals) has signed a new contract at the club, 10 days after handing in a transfer request, and Villa fans will hope he continues his good form to help the team improve on last season’s 15th position.
KICK-OFF: Tomorrow, 3pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS:
Arsenal 2 (Cazorla 2) Aston Villa 1 (Weimann), Premier League, February 2013
Aston Villa 0 Arsenal 0, Premier League, November 2012
Arsenal 3 (Gibbs, Walcott, Arteta) Aston Villa 0, Premier League, March 2012
Arsenal haven’t lost against Aston Villa in their last five games.
Arsenal scored 47 goals at home last season, the highest in the division.
Benteke scored 19 goals last season, no other Villa player reached double figures.
Aston Villa conceded 41 goals away from home last season, the highest in the league.
Arsenal to win: 0.35
Aston Villa to win: 7.5
TV: highlights on BBC1 at 10.30pm.