Aston Villa vs Arsenal | Saturday 6th February 2021,12:30 | BT Sport
It is 9th vs 10th in the Saturday lunchtime game with both teams having come off a defeat in midweek.
Aston Villa started the season brightly but are going through a bit of a rough patch, only picking up 7 points from their last 7 games. The Villans conceded 20 shots against West Ham in midweek and it is hard to argue the Hammers did not deserve 3 points.
Villa had played 5 league games in 14 days after the game against West Ham and it would not be a surprise to see Dean Smith look to bring in some fresh legs for the visit of the North Londoners.
Before the defeat to Wolves, Arsenal had not tasted defeat in 7 Premier League games and their resurgence has been brought about partly due to the exciting performances of Emile Smith-Rowe and Bukayo Saka. The Gunners also expect to have talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang back which should also bolster their chances of getting a result.
Tuesday night’s match was very much a game of two halves against Wolves for Arsenal. The Gunners dominated the first half and Mikel Arterta spoke after the game saying his team should have been 3 or 4 goals up by half time. David Luiz picking up a red card changing the game just before break, resulting in Arteta’s men leaving empty handed.
The betting angles
In the outright markets Villa are priced at 13/8, the draw 5/2 and Arsenal 8/5. My initial thoughts were to get Arsenal onside with their record this calendar year and Villa’s dip in form, but the visitors have not beaten a top-10 team away all season. It is a tricky one to call and I will swerve the outright market.
In the prop markets, an angle I am keen to get onside is Hector Bellerin tackles. Jack Grealish will likely be up against him and it could be a long evening for the Spaniard.
It is well documented about how well Grealish has played this season and is obviously the key man for The Gunners to stop.
Bellerin in his last six games has tackle stats reading (starting from his most recent) 2,3,3,1,2,2 and right backs playing Aston Villa (playing in a back 4 as I expect Arsenal to set up and have played the full 90 minutes) have had 3,4,3,4,2,1 tackles.
I am surprised at the price on offer with PokerStars Sports at 11/10 for 2 tackles and 3 tackles with Ladbrokes or Coral at 29/10 which must be snapped up. If prices do disappear quickly, I still feel the prices offered by sky bet at 5/6 for 2 and 5/2 for 3 are acceptable.
In the shots market I like Ollie Watkins. Since his summer move from Brentford the striker has got 9 goals in 20 league appearances, an impressive display in his first season in the Premier League.
Watkins has the 7th highest shots average per game in the league making 3 attempts. His last 3 games he has had 4,4 and 5 shots. He scored twice in the reverse fixture at the Emirates (having 3 shots in total) and taking into consideration his latest shot stats, Paddy Power or Betfair’s offer of Watkins to have 3+ shots at even-money looks like a good angle of attack.
One player (as previously mentioned) who has been getting lots of plaudits is Bakayo Saka. The winger has 4 goals and 2 assists in his last 7 games and has the highest rating out of the Arsenal team on WhoScored.com this season.
When reflecting on Saka’s form and his high stats rating, I like the price of him to be awarded the Man of the Match gong with Paddy Power or Betfair at 12/1 (the operators use WhoDcored.com to determine their MOTM rather than TV commentators). he has the 16th highest price in this market and at 12/1 it looks a big price and my long shot for the game.