The Gunners' march to the top continues as they next host
Aston Villa at the Emirates. Can they pick up yet another victory and put more
daylight between them and their North London rivals in the battle for third
The last couple of months have been spectacular for Arsenal.
Destined for one of their worst league finishes in club
history earlier on this season, the Gunners have instead reeled off six
straight Premier League victories and are now third in the table.
It's not as if the competition has been bad either, with
Arsenal getting wins over Tottenham, Liverpool, Newcastle and Everton during
The latest scalp for Wenger's crew was at Goodison Park,
where the visitors got an early goal from Thomas Vermaelen and then held their
ground for a 1-0 win and those hugely important three points.
Gunnin' for the top
Taking this resurgence into account, it's hardly shocking to
see the Gunners as the firm favorites for this weekend's encounter at home with
Aston Villa. Currently Arsenal is at -250 at Bovada to grab the win, while
Aston Villa can be backed anywhere from +700 to +891 on the soccer odds board.
Villa had their latest fixture with Bolton postponed due to
the Fabrice Muamba situation and will therefore be very well-rested for
The Villans are unbeaten in three league fixtures but have
faced some of the weaker teams in the league. That said, they did secure a 1-0
victory at home over Fulham in their most recent domestic action. The winning
goal there came from substitute Andreas Weimann.
Though Villa has been solid lately, no team wants to play
the Gunners right now.
Arsenal won the first meeting of the campaign 2-1 back at
Villa Park, with the goals coming from Robin Van Persie (who else?) and Yossi
And that was way before the Gunners' fantastic streak even
What started out as a horrific season for Gunners fans has
now transformed into an amazing story. Here Arsenal stands, in third place
ahead of Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool. Who could have seen that coming back
Van Persie Vindication
Of course, a ton of credit should go to Van Persie for his
irrepressible form. The Dutch striker has six more goals (26) than any other
Premier League player this season, and has added in eight assists for good
measure. Staying injury-free was the only thing standing in his way and look
what he's accomplished.
The goals have been flowing for Van Persie and the Gunners, especially at home.
They beat Blackburn 7-1 in early February and then smashed Tottenham 5-2 a few
weeks later. In total, the Gunners have scored 31 goals on their own pitch
while allowing just 12.
Aston Villa, meanwhile, has been horrendous away from home,
winning just three of their 14 matches. It's a big reason why they're 15th
in the Premier League as of right now, a horrible showing for a club as
talented as the Villans.
With that in mind, I'd be foolish to recommend anything
other than a pretty comfortable win for the Gunners. Okay, nothing is really
comfortable in the Premier League, but I still think Arsenal earns all three
points when the final whistle blows, with Van Persie likely to get on the
scoresheet yet again.
FREE Pick: Arsenal 3 Aston Villa 1