Arsenal return to Premier League action needing a win to revive their faltering season whilst Aston Villa look to maintain the momentum from their last fixture against West Ham when they got a crucial win at Villa Park.
Blackburn Rovers’ shock victory in the FA Cup and Bayern Munich’s convincing victory against Arsenal in the Champions League has heaped more pressure on under fire manager Arsene Wenger.
Despite assurances about his future from the Arsenal board, Wenger has been a frustrated figure in recent weeks, most notably at his pre match press conference before the Bayern Munich match.
Currently four points behind neighbours Spurs who sit in the last Champions League position and with the fans becoming increasingly restless, Arsenal will be hoping to replicate the performance from the corresponding fixture last season.
Sitting just one point above the relegation zone, Aston Villa will be confident of causing more problems for a porous Arsenal defence with the in-form Christian Benteke, who has four goals in his last three games.
Paul Lambert’s young side have not won away from Villa Park since their surprise win against Liverpool in last December and have conceded late equalisers in their last three away matches.
Kick-Off: Saturday 15:00
Past three meetings…
November 2012: Premier League – Aston Villa 0 – 0 Arsenal
March 2012: Premier League – Arsenal 3 (Gibbs, Walcott, Arteta) – 0 Aston Villa
January 2012: FA Cup – Arsenal 3 (Van Persie x2, Walcott) – 2 Aston Villa (Dunne, Bent)
Arsenal have won just two of their last six home matches against Aston Villa in the league, after winning their previous eight games.
60% of Arsenal's goals this season have come in the second half compared to 52% for Aston Villa.
Aston Villa have received more yellow cards (54) than any other team in the league.
Arsenal's Lukas Podolski is level at the top of the assists charts with nine alongside Steven Gerrard and Juan Mata.
Arsenal to win - 1.35
Aston Villa to win - 11
Draw - 5.6
TV: Highlights on BBC1 at 10.20pm