Arsenal make the trip back up to the midlands to face Aston Villa in Saturday’s early kick-off, with both sides looking to bounce-back from shock defeats in the week.
The Gunners can probably consider themselves hard done by in their last trip to the ‘Black Country’, falling to a 2-1 defeat at Wolverhampton Wanderers after being reduced to 9-men, earlier this week.
Aston Villa v Arsenal Tip – What to Back?
While there can probably be no complaints about Bernd Leno’s red card, the incident which saw David Luiz sent off and Wolves awarded a penalty on the stroke of half-time has sparked debate.
The decision to send Luiz off, after VAR review, has been a hot topic ever since – and became even more so when Jan Bednarek’s red card was overturned for basically the same thing in Manchester United’s 9-0 drubbing of Southampton.
The event flipped the game on its head and, after Arsenal had dominated the first half, they found themselves level and on the back foot going into the break.
They gave a good account of themselves in the second half, hindered as they were by Leno’s stupidity, but it was something they never truly recovered from.
For Villa; there was no clear point that turned the game on its head, they were simply outclassed by West Ham.
The Hammers just came out of the blocks quicker in the second half, racing to a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Tomas Soucek and Jesse Lingard, the when it looked like Villa had salvaged some hope through Ollie Watkins’ 81st minute goal, JLingz struck again just two minutes later to really mark his debut in style.
It was a setback the Villains – who’ve lost four of their last six – could really have done without, though they will take solace from the fact they inflicted Arsenal’s heaviest home league defeat (that wasn’t dealt by Manchester City) since 2009 earlier this season.
That was a different Arsenal side though, and Mikel Arteta has them playing much better recently. Tuesday’s defeat was their first in the Premier League in eight games, and they’ve become an incredibly difficult side to beat in 2021.
This is a really tough game to call, as the early kick-off usually is. It could go really either way in terms of goals and final result.
For that reason I’ll be focusing on cards again, and I’ll be dipping my toe back into Spanish waters – backing Hector Bellerin to be carded at 5/1 with BetVictor.
The way the game played out on Tuesday really was not ideal for a Hector Bellerin card, with Nelson Semedo starting at RB behind Adama Traore and Wolves attacking the left-hand side of Arsenal’s defence.
He’ll be up against the most fouled player in the division in Jack Grealish though, who is fouled an average of 4.6 times per game! It’s a big ask for a player who’s been carded seven times in 19 games to stay out of trouble here.
5/1 on this feels like tremendous value, especially considering he’s as short as 11/5 elsewhere.