Arsenal vs Aston Villa preview
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Last Updated: 20/09/19 4:18pm
Team news, key stats and predictions ahead of Arsenal vs Aston Villa in the Premier League.
Arsenal's Alexandre Lacazette remains ruled out with an ankle injury. Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney are involved in the Gunners' U23 game on Friday night. Rob Holding travelled with the club to Frankfurt on Thursday night, but was not a member of the squad.
Matt Targett could return for Aston Villa, with Trezeguet also back after his ban for a red card picked up against Crystal Palace. Jonathan Kodjia and James Chester remain sidelined.
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- Arsenal have won their last six competitive meetings with Aston Villa in all competitions, keeping a clean sheet in each of the last five.
- Only Manchester United and Chelsea (4) have won more Premier League away games against Arsenal at the Emirates than Aston Villa (3), with the Villans winning there in 2008, 2011 and 2013.
- Aston Villa have a record of W1 D1 L3 from their opening five matches of this Premier League season, the exact same record they had at this stage in their last top-flight campaign in 2015-16 when they finished bottom of the league.
- Since the start of last season, Arsenal's players have made more errors leading directly to goals (14) than any other Premier League team. The Gunners have also conceded 10 goals via the penalty spot in this period, a joint-high alongside Brighton.
- Since Unai Emery took charge of his first game at the club in August 2018, Arsenal have conceded 47 high turnovers of possession that have ended in an opposition shot in the Premier League; this is five more than any other team in this period.
- Should Arsenal concede a penalty against Aston Villa they will become the fourth side in Premier League history to face penalties in four consecutive matches, alongside Stoke (4) in January 2014, Wimbledon (5) in August 1999 and Norwich (5) in September 2011.
- Arsenal have allowed their opponents 96 shots this season so far in the Premier League; the most of any side in 2019-20 and since 2003-04 only 13 teams have allowed more in their first five Premier League games of a single season (out of a possible 340).
Charlie Nicholas' prediction
Where do I start with Arsenal? They must get more from Nicolas Pepe and he must be match fit now. Pepe needs to use his trickery and pace to help Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Unai Emery must stick with Reiss Nelson or Joe Willock. How can you make sense of the defence? I don't know who will partner David Luiz. It doesn't matter whether there are one or two midfielders protecting the back four and I think it is time to leave Granit Xhaka out of the side.
There are a lot of goals for Arsenal at home. Dani Ceballos must play and Mesut Ozil too - they moved it around well last week. I like Mateo Guendouzi but he is young, naive and gets attracted to the ball. They need to sort themselves out in defence and if they are not good enough, you leave them out. Put Lucas Torreira in front of midfield.
Aston Villa are vulnerable defensively, but can counter-attack with John McGinn and Jack Grealish, while Wesley is a handful up front. It should be comfortable but I don't think it will be and there will be goals.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 4-2 (33/1 with Sky Bet)