Aston Villa vs Arsenal - Prediction, Betting Odds & Picks

  • Arsenal have had a fantastic week and will want to maintain their positive momentum
  • Aston Villa are in desperate need of points as they continue their fight against relegation
  • Arsenal have demonstrated grit and steel in recent matches and Villa fill struggle to break them down

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What Aston Villa vs Arsenal
Where Villa Park, Birmingham, England
When Tuesday, 21 July 2020, 3.15 PM EST
How to watch NBC Sports

A 2-1 defeat by arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur left Arsenal fans in a deflated mood last weekend. Their team had been on a promising run before that, but a loss to their chief adversary swept away much of the optimism that had been built up in the preceding weeks. With games against Liverpool and Manchester City on the horizon, many supporters feared Arsenal’s campaign was fizzling out.

That is no longer the case. A 2-1 victory over Liverpool on Wednesday saw the Gunners become only the third team to beat the Premier League champions this term. It was a dogged and gutsy display from Mikel Arteta’s side, who fell behind to a Sadio Mane strike but capitalised on individual errors to turn the game around, before impressively holding the Reds at arm’s length in the second half.

Things got even better on Saturday. Manchester City were heavy favourites to beat Arsenal in the first FA Cup semi-final, just as they had done at both the Emirates Stadium and the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League. But it was Arsenal who was celebrating at the final whistle, courtesy of a 2-0 win which was thoroughly deserved. It remains early in Arteta’s tenure but he has already had a major influence on an Arsenal team that was previously considered flaky, easy to play against and mentally weak.

Arsenal still have a chance of finishing seventh and guaranteeing a Europa League qualification spot, which will also be theirs if they beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final. However, Aston Villa’s need for points is considerably more desperate as they continue their battle against the drop. Unfortunately for Dean Smith’s side, Arsenal will be full of confidence here.

Aston Villa vs Arsenal Odds

Total goals Odds
Over 2.5 -150
Under 2.5 +120

Odds taken from DraftKings.

Villa’s urgent situation might have given them the edge over Arsenal in previous seasons, but the north Londoners do genuinely appear to have turned a corner under Arteta. As Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola have discovered in recent days, the Gunners are no longer pushovers.

Expect Arteta to instruct his team to absorb Villa’s pressure and break quickly in transition. Arsenal will not need to chase victory here, and they look well placed to take advantage of their opponents’ desperation. A low-scoring away win is the most likely outcome at Villa Park.

Optimism Abounds as Arsenal Begin to Shed Defects That Have Held Them Back

Arsene Wenger was a phenomenal manager in his pomp, a genuine innovator as well as a serial trophy-winner. But towards the end of his long reign at Arsenal, his team was undone by the same shortcomings season after season. The Gunners were defensively shaky and mentally fragile, and their long-serving coach was preoccupied with attacking, possession-based soccer to create a balanced team.

Unai Emery was unable to sufficiently change the culture of the club, which is why he was sacked in November. It would be premature to state that Arteta has already succeeded where his predecessor failed, but there is a growing body of evidence that suggests Arsenal are beginning to get over their long-term failings.

Defeat here would not undo all of the positive feelings Arteta and his players have generated in recent days, but the Spaniard will be desperate to keep Arsenal’s winning run going, particularly as a slip-up at Villa Park would put a dent in their top-seven chances.

Villa Close to Last-Chance Saloon as the Relegation Battle Nears a Conclusion

A return of four points from the last six available has kept Aston Villa in the running for Premier League survival, although they still have plenty of work to do. With West Ham United and Brighton and Hove Albion all but safe, the relegation battle is now a straight fight between three teams, only one of whom will finish above the dreaded dotted line.

Watford’s three-point advantage makes them favorites to survive, but they face Manchester City and Arsenal in their final two fixtures. If Villa can pick up something on Tuesday, they may well fancy their chances of defeating West Ham on the final weekend and finishing above both Watford and Bournemouth in 17th place.

Arsenal Have the Tools to Repel a Villa Attack That Has Hardly Sizzled of Late

To do that, though, Villa must show two characteristics that have eluded them for much of the season: a goalscoring threat and defensive resolve. Smith’s men have managed only six clean sheets in 2019/20, and only Norwich City have conceded more goals. At the other end, Villa have generally looked blunt in attack since the restart, with just five strikes to their name in their last eight matches.

Arteta’s philosophy centers on ball possession and pressing, but Arsenal also showed a significant threat on the counter-attack against Liverpool and Manchester City. The Gunners might be content if the game is goalless heading into the final 30 minutes, at which point they could do damage in the space vacated by a Villa team who will feel compelled to throw caution to the wind.

Our Pick

Take the Under option here – Aston Villa have struggled for goals since the restart and Arsenal’s new-found solidity should continue.

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Greg Lea

Expert on Soccer

Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]