Aston Villa-Arsenal Preview
Arsenal took plenty of heat from pundits after blowing a late lead in a favorable matchup in their most recent Premier League contest. Though a mid-week triumph outside of the top-flight has them feeling better about themselves, the Gunners can't afford another questionable showing against a club they should beat.
Looking to keep their top-flight winless stretch from reaching four games, Arsenal aim to flex their collective muscle against promoted-side Aston Villa on Sunday.
Life seemed good for the Gunners (2-2-1) when they opened Premier League play with consecutive wins over Newcastle United and Burnley. Arsenal have not won in the league since, however, and last weekend blew a two-goal lead on 32 minutes, via a brace from
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (five goals), in a 2-2 road draw with a Watford squad that entered this matchday without a Premier League victory.
The reaction from media types was nearly brutal considering Arsenal seemed to have the match in hand. It didn't help the hearts of the Gunners supporters, either.
Arsenal, though, were able to get back to their winning ways with a 3-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday in the Europa League. Though that victory has no bearing on what happens to the Gunners within the Premier League, there seemed to be a bit of relief from the club, and knowing that the draw with Watford did not have any immediate linger issues.
"We spoke about (reacting to the Watford match) in the changing room after the game as well, so it was good to get the win and just get that out of the way, and now move on to Sunday," 19-year-old defender Bukayo Saka, who had a goal with an assist versus Frankfurt, told Arsenal's official website.
"We just have to play with confidence, play our game, stick to our game plan and everything will be fine."
The next challenge for Arsenal is not to take another step back with the visit from Aston Villa (1-1-3). Back in the Premier League, the Villans have been blanked in two games since winning 2-0 over Everton on Aug. 23.
On the flipside, Villa have only conceded one goal in the last two matches, and played West Ham United to a goalless draw at home under the floodlights Monday night. However, it was a bit disconcerting considering West Ham played with 10 men from the 67th minute on.
"You've got to take three points against 11 men at home, let alone 10," midfielder John McGinn told Villa's official website. "We move on to Arsenal now. We'll be a threat to any team in this league. We're still gelling and getting used to each other."
Arsenal have won five straight meetings against Aston Villa, the most recent coming in May 2016 when the Villans were still in the top-flight.
Updated September 20, 2019