Premier League Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Aston Villa vs. Arsenal (Saturday, Feb. 6)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images. Pictured: Aston Villa standout Jack Grealish.
- Aston Villa entertains Arsenal at Villa Park for Saturday's Premier League showdown.
- Both sides are hoping to rebound from midweek defeats.
- Anthony Dabbundo breaks down the match and gives his top pick below.
Aston Villa vs. Arsenal Odds
|Aston Villa Odds||+170|
|Day | Time||Saturday | 7:30 a.m. ET|
|How To Watch||NBC Sports|
|Odds updated as of Friday at 1 p.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today.|
At the beginning of the season, a line that showed Aston Villa favored over European giant Arsenal would have been laughed at.
Yet, more than halfway through the Premier League season, it’s clear which team has been better. By both points and underlying numbers, Aston Villa has outperformed one of the continent’s historic clubs.
The sides will go at it Saturday when the Gunners travel to the West Midlands, with both outfits looking to avenge midweek defeats.
No team has improved more the past two seasons than Aston Villa. During the last campaign, the Villans needed a point on the final day to avoid relegation and have improved massively following that scare both offensively and defensively this campaign.
It goes without saying the Aston Villa offensive improvement made sense. The club added two young attackers in Ollie Watkins and Bertrand Traoré, who have shined alongside breakout superstar Jack Grealish. The Villans’ attack ranks fourth in expected goals, plus it sits four goals ahead of Arsenal in two fewer games.
The defensive improvement in the first half of the season made much less sense, and it explains why those numbers have regressed significantly in recent weeks.
For a while, Aston Villa’s defense was second or third best in the league. Now, the Villans are mid-table in expected goals allowed. The defense has been most exposed in transition, where Manchester United, West Ham United and even Burnley were able to exploit it.
That’s less of an issue facing Arsenal, which has the slowest build-up in the league and have relied much more on crossing. The Villans’ fullbacks are underrated and should be able to contain the Gunners, much as they did in the 3-0 reverse fixture win.
The Gunners’ performances have improved to the point where their 10-game rolling xG difference is positive for the first time under manager Mikel Arteta. That’s a combination of an easy run of fixtures and their young talent shining when given the opportunity.
Arsenal still isn’t very good, though, as it ranks 10th in xG difference per 90 minutes. They’re a mid-table team that also has issues following their 2-1 defeat to Wolves earlier this week.
Center back David Luiz and goalkeeper Bernd Leno were both sent off in that setback. Reserve goalkeeper Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson struggled mightily in his Cup appearances and has zero experience in England’s top flight.
Kieran Tierney, one of their most important creative players at left back, is expected to miss Saturday’s game as well.
During their excellent run of form, the Gunners have only played one team in the top 10 defensively of the xG table, defeating Brighton & Hove Albion via a 1-0 scoreline on 1.2 expected goals.
Betting Analysis & Picks
I’m still lower on Arsenal than the market, yet higher on Aston Villa, despite the recent form. The Villans have been the better team all season, and with the Gunners’ defensive departures, I expect Watkins and Grealish to expose Arsenal’s reserves.
I will back Aston Villa -130 on the Draw No Bet line and would play this wager to -125 or better.
Pick: Aston Villa — Draw No Bet (-125 or better)