Premier League 2013-2014 action is all but set to kick off this weekend so join us as we begin previewing week 1 action, beginning with the clash between Arsenal and Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium, scheduled to get underway at 15:00 GMT, Saturday 17 August, 2013.
<p style="text-align:center"><span data-sheets-rawvalue="</span></p> <p><b style=" font-size: 1em;"><br />Oh la la Arsene!</span></p> <p><img id="ctl00_head_ArticleAdministrator_picturePreview_imgSelectedPicture" alt="Image preview" class="imgSelectedPicture article-image" src="/picks-pictures/arsenal%20gunners.jpg" style="font-size:1em" />Arsenal have coasted through Premier League seasons and several years without winning anything of note, so will it be much of the same this season – another fourth place finish or therein? Or can we finally expect a major push by the north Londoners? </p> <p>Well, given the fact that Arsene Wenger has been awfully tightfisted during the summer transfer window and has gone the entire summer without purchasing a single player – save for the signing of Yaya Sanogo (free from Auxerre) – it appears to be much of the same is expected. Don’t shoot the messenger: but why else would <a href="/betting-odds/soccer/" title="Live Soccer Odds & Betting lines" target="_blank">soccer odds</a> makers set the fourth best team last year as the fourth-in-line to win the title at +1000 (<a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/Sportsbook/?v=778&book=bet365inarticle" title="Bet with Bet365" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Bet365</a>). </p> <p>So Arsene has dropped some of the dead weight that has burdened his Gunners – pink slips were handed out to Gervinho, <strong>Andrei Arshavin</strong><strong>,</strong> Sebastian Squillaci, Andre Santos, Marouane Chamakh and Denilson, to name a few. But no exciting fresh blood has come in as of yet and courting Luis Suarez has come to naught. Nothing has been made to make the Gunners a stronger and better team than they were last year, although Arsene would have you believe that what he has right now is <a href="/soccer/free-picks/soccer-betting-2013-14-epl-futures-betting-odds-a-32619/" title="Soccer Betting: 2013-14 EPL Futures & Betting Odds" target="_blank">good enough to win the league</a>.</p> <p style="text-align:center"><em>Take a look at our <a href="/soccer/free-picks/soccer-picks-premier-league-week-1-rundown-a-32738/" title="Soccer Picks: Premier League Week 1 Rundown ">Premier League Rundown full of Week 1 picks</a>.</em></p> <p><b>Aston Vila a top Midland club?</b></p> <p>Aston Villa meanwhile has been busy splashing cash in the summer transfer window and doing its part to build a more competitive side. They’ve brought in a slew of youngsters and talent where needed most, such as Leandro Bacuna (FC Groningen), Nicklas Helenius (Aalborg BK), Jores Okore (FC Nordsjaelland), Antonio Luna (Sevilla) and Aleksandar Tonev (Lech Poznan). [Source: Mirror, UK]. </p> <p>Of course, nobody expects Aston Villa to win the league – certainly not the <a href="http://www.sportsbookreview.com/" title="Sportsbook Review: Who should you trust with your money?" target="_blank">online betting shops</a> who are tipping them at a hallucinatory +200000. Nor for that matter do they expect them to finish in the top four with any sincerity listed as they are at +12500 in that prop market. They are however considered to be the favourite top Midland club at +138 alongside West Bromwich Albion. And that is a smart choice for your <a href="/soccer/" title="Soccer Picks, Tips & Betting Predictions" target="_blank">soccer picks</a> where they are concerned.</p> <p>[gameodds]2/239492/?r3=43-999997-349/dec&r-1=43-999997-349/us[/gameodds]</p> <p><b>Arsenal vs. Aston Villa Predictions: </b></p> <p>Clearly, with both clubs having spent their summers differently, this should be a very interesting clash and, more importantly, a test of Arsene Wenger’s theory about the quality and depth his squad boasts. </p> <p>Naturally, Arsenal are the favourites going into this fixture at -275 – what with home ground advantage and perceivable edge on paper over Aston Villa. They have a solid record that suggests they are the smart play. </p> <p>But we’re not buying what they are selling, if their last three warm-up games were any indication – a draw to Napoli, a defeat to Galatasaray and a win over Manchester City. Moreover, Arsenal is notorious for poor starts on the season (well, that has been the case these past three seasons) and with key injury problems – Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshire questionable to start the season – that trend may well continue. Let’s not forget the absence of a striker of Luis Suarez’s ilk or even Higuan which makes Arsenal less potent up front.</p> <p>Yet if you are inclined Arsenal’s way, you might like to know that bookies favour a 2-0 win by Arsenal the best at +600 while a 1-0 win is going for +750 and a 2-1 or 3-0 win is trading at +800.</p> <p>Aston Villa are the huge underdogs at +750 to win outright and even the draw is out of reach at +400. But although they are the long shot bet in every sense of the expression, there is good reason why soccer fans might like to consider their odds to win outright. First of all, they have no pressure whatsoever to win this game. That’s all on Arsenal, which means they can play freely to a certain extent especially as they are on the road. Villans boast Christian Benteke, who is a player that can make the difference for them this season. Against Malaga in the final preseason warm up he was sublime, notching a brace and all eyes will be on him to perform. Finally, what makes Aston Villa a tempting prospect is their shored up defence anchored by Okore, a huge signing for the Villans this summer. </p> <strong>Soccer Betting Verdict: </strong>Everything about this matchup suggests Arsenal should win and, at the same time, Aston Villa could win. You decide but we’re plumping down to a surprise result –a draw bet at +400 or a win by Aston Villa at +750.