Wenger Warns of Dangerous Distortion of Aston Villa Quality

Arsenal vs Aston Villa 2015

Villa have disappointed hugely in the league of late but last weekend’s cup win against Bournemouth, along with the Delph news, at least helped to bring a smile to Villa faces. With Scott Sinclair joining on loan we now have more competition for places, but Arsenal have hit good form recently and will be high on confidence after an away win at the Etihad…

Wenger on Villa

“There’s a distortion between the quality they have going forward [and goalscoring stats]. When you look at the names they have on their team sheet, they have Benteke, Agbonlahor and Weimann who can all score goals.

“They suffered a lot from Agbonlahor’s injury after Benteke was out for a long time. When everybody’s there, it is a team who looks quite dangerous going forward.”

Lambert on Scott Sinclair

“I’m thankful we got the deal done because I think he’s a player with great unfulfilled potential.

“In hindsight, maybe for his own playing career, the Manchester City move was not a good one for him. But the opportunity to play for a club like that hardly ever comes to you and when it does, it’s very hard to turn it down.

“I’m pretty sure he will have learned a lot in football terms from it, whether he realises it yet or not.

“It will have been a great experience for him but now’s the time he can kick on and get his career up and running.”

Memory Match

17th August 2013 Arsenal 1 Aston Villa 3

A dream start to the 2013/14 season saw a goal from debutant left-back Antonia Luna as Villa stunned the Emirates. Luna incidentally has failed to start one game since being loan from Villa to Hellas Verona.

Arsenal– Last five matches at home: W 4, L 1

Villa – Last five matches away: W 1, D 1, L 3

Villa have lost three of the last five visits to the Emirates

One to Watch

Olivier Giroud – the French striker has bagged four goals in his last five league appearances.

Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet

When a team is enduring a barren goalscoring run, nothing seems to go right for them. We saw this when Villa played Liverpool – we created some decent chances but missed a couple of sitters and there was the sense that it wouldn’t be our day.

The Bournemouth match did at least show we can score – in particularly impressive style.

It will be a lot to ask to turn our season around at the Emirates though, and despite picking up a couple of wins in recent visits to Arsenal territory, it’s a daunting task.

Arsenal will no doubt be mindful of last season’s fixture when we snatched three points but suddenly that result seems far away. Three goals in a match? We’ve gone eight hours in the league without one!

Recent clashes have exposed Villa’s frailties and on two occasions we’ve capitulated. Wenger’s men have scored five goals in their last two Premier League games against Villa, and bizarrely, all came between the 32nd and 36th minutes.

What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide

When Carles Gil scored that spectacular goal against Bournemouth, for a moment it was possible to forget about Villa’s ongoing negative stats. With Sinclair’s addition to the squad we have a new look to the squad which of course means there will be much-needed competition for starting places.

We don’t counter-attack like we did when we beat Arsenal last season and our new style will be severely tested by an in-form Arsenal

The width added by Gil and Sinclair will no doubt boost our chance creation, though, and if we are to forget about comparisons to 2007-08 Derby it would be nice to think we’ll give Arsenal a good game – and show the creativity that was hinted at during our FA Cup win.

If we don’t score on Sunday it will be the first time we’ve played six league games in a row without scoring in our history. We’ve already broken poor records under Lambert’s management and certainly don’t need to do it again!

Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag

One of the negatives from Villa’s solid display against Bournemouth was the lack of involvement from Benteke. For whatever reason the Belgian looked a far cry from his goalscoring best but if history repeats itself this could change on Sunday. Benteke has a good record against the Gunners and has scored three goals in four Premier League appearances against them.

Add to this the fact the Gunners haven’t managed to win three league games in a row this season and you do get the feeling that may be it will be Villa’s day.

For once there is a reasonable amount of positivity around Villa. Delph’s new contract will give everyone a lift and Gil has shown he’s certainly capable of boosting Villa’s attacking threat.

Until recently Villa were recognised as a team better away from home but this hasn’t been the case this season. A win against Arsenal would round off a decent week for Villa nicely, allowing us to push up the table and demonstrate the potential of the club that Tom Fox recently alluded to.


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