- Arsenal’s league games have seen fewer goals this season than any other team in the division.
- Arsenal won eight of their last 10 Premier League fixtures at the Emirates Stadium.
- Aston Villa scored one or fewer goals in 14 of their last 18 top-flight tests.
- Arsenal averaging just 1.2 goals per 90 minutes of league action since the summer.
Arsenal’s defensive leanings
Arsenal carved out what felt like a significant 1-0 win over Man Utd at Old Trafford last weekend, ending their lengthy hoodoo in away games against the Premier League’s big six.
While the Gunners probably had the better of it at the Theatre of Dreams, the drab contest had been drifting towards a 0-0 stalemate before a calamitous challenge from Paul Pogba allowed Arsenal to win a match-defining penalty kick.
Defensive and organisational improvements won the day for Arteta’s men in Manchester, though the Gunners, who are averaging just 1.2 goals per 90 minutes this season, continue to look uninspiring further up the pitch.
Aston Villa hit bumpy patch
After their stunning start to the 2020/21 campaign, Aston Villa had their surging confidence knocked with two setbacks inside eight days last week, following successive defeats to Leeds and Southampton.
In their first reverse, the Villains were comfortably outplayed by Marcelo Bielsa’s technically talented team in the Midlands, where Leeds racked up an incredible 27 attempts on their way to recording a 3-0 victory.
Against their subsequent loss to the Saints, Villa were four goals down after an hour before a late fightback allowed them to finish with a more respectable looking 4-3 final score, though their recent defensive regression will be of huge concern to Dean Smith.
Tight contest likely in London
Mikel Arteta’s rigid tactical approach has made Arsenal a much tougher team to score against, and the Gunners have conceded one or fewer goals in 13 of their last 16 Premier League fixtures.
Their improved defensive shape has come at a cost however, and the Gunners, who notched just four goals in their last five league games, regularly lack imagination and cutting edge in the final third.
As a result, no team has seen fewer goals in their top-flight games (16) than Arsenal this season, and we’re tipping the pattern of the Gunners’ play to keep the score down again on Sunday.
Under 2.5 goals were registered in each of Arsenal’s last three games, and the same market appeals for their test against Villa at the prices available, while our correct score prediction tips Arteta’s Gunners to squeeze out another 1-0 victory.
Villa – who rattled home one or fewer goals in 14 of their last 18 Premier League assignments – should find it tough to tear holes in Arsenal’s well-protected defence this weekend, and the Gunners have already shown on numerous occasions this term, that they don’t need many goals to win games.
With those combinations a factor, and Arsenal averaging 1.2 goals per 90 minutes since the summer, a 1-0 triumph looks a possible outcome. The Gunners won eight of their last 10 Premier League tussles at the Emirates, and another positive result on their own patch looks within reach on Sunday.
Arsenal injuries and team news
Calum Chambers, Gabriel Martinelli and Pablo Mari remain sidelined for Arsenal, while Reiss Nelson is rated as doubtful.
Mohamed Elney and Thomas Partey are in line to reprise their roles in midfield ahead of Dani Ceballos and Granit Xhaka.
Aston Villa injuries and team news
Wesley and Bertrand Traore are still out for Villa, while Tom Heaton and Kortney Hause are still considered doubts.
Former Arsenal keeper Emi Martinez should start between the sticks for the visitors against his old club.