Last season’s opening day fixture turned out to be a shocker for the thousand of gooners who were in attendance and for the millions who were watching it at home, as Aston Villa became the first team to beat the Gunners on the opening day in 13 years. A pair of debatable penalties did the damage for Arsenal and Koscielny’s sending off after a terrific tackle also hampered our strength.
Although the refereeing was diabolical, but we didn’t put on a good show either. We managed to get only four shots on target that day, which is not enough for any team that wants to compete for the Premier League title. Back then we were low on confidence and had a really thin squad. We had not signed a single world class player till that point. But after signing Mesut Ozil, entire team’s spirits were lifted and we managed to stay on top of the table for 128 days, finished in the top 4, kept 16 clean sheets and won the FA Cup.
But this year, the story is a little different. We started the season with high confidence and with an on-paper stronger squad than last season, but we are yet to put on a Championship-Winner-kind-of performance, and we are yet to keep a clean sheet this season. We did squander away sure three points against Leicester City and got ourselves just one point from that match, but our defiant performances against Everton and Man City showed that our squad has got good character and “We will not go quietly into the night, we will not vanish without a fight”.
What awaits us at Villa Park this weekend, you ask? I say, a high flying Aston Villa team.
Aston Villa have made their best league start for 16 years, having taken 10 points from a possible 12. They have also managed to keep 3 clean sheet in the last 4 games.Last weekend they beat Liverpool 1-0 at Anfield. And this weekend they would be willing to take out another top gun in the Premier League on their home turf, which could be a reality if Arsenal do not bounce back from their 2-0 defeat againt Dortmund from this past Tuesday. Gunners need to adapt quickly to the new 4-1-4-1 formation. And not only Mesut Ozil, but others will also need to play up to their full potential against the High Flying Villans to build a confidence in the squad for the remainder of the season.
Good news for the gooners is that the stats favor us in the upcoming match.
# Arsenal have not lost a single game at Villa Park since 1998.
#Gunners have won last 7 of the 11 encounters with the Villans.
It could go either ways. But that’s the beauty of this game, isn’t it?