Aston Villa v Arsenal: Hosts to lose, but not by much

If Aston Villa were hoping a new manager would provide their woeful form a shot in the arm, the reaction has been somewhat delayed.

Remi Garde is still waiting for his first win as the Villans’ boss and, with Arsenal the next opponents in an increasingly difficult survival gauntlet, it doesn’t look like coming this weekend.

The Gunners arrive at Villa Park with title aspirations and the favourites’ tag for the clash. Ladbrokes make them 4/7 jollies against Villa’s price of 19/4, while the draw can be backed at an equally unlikely 3/1.

Two points are all that have come Garde’s way since becoming the permanent successor to Tim Sherwood. In his four games since, the side have mixed surprising draws against Manchester City and Southampton with galling defeats to Everton and Watford.

Against an Arsenal side that are the Premier League’s second-best away side, it looks a formality that the former Lyon boss’ wait for a first triumph will continue. However, the result may not be as heavy as some expect.

For a side languishing at the bottom of the division with six measly points and 11 losses, Villa haven’t been getting as resoundingly beaten as perhaps would be expected.

Eight of their top-flight defeats have come by an agonising one-goal margin and five have occurred at Villa Park.

It’s highly unlikely that Garde will send his new charges out to attack his former employers, preferring to keep things tight and play for the draw or smash-and-grab win. That tactic only enhances the chance of a slim winning margin.

Ladbrokes make it an appealing 5/2 that Arsenal win by one goal, while the 2/1 about the score being 0-0 at half time also stands out.

Half of the Londoners’ eight away games this term have been scoreless at the break, while three have seen no action by the interval in the Midlands.

Of course, there’s plenty of other betting opportunities to explore for the game, not least the two special offers the bookmaker is laying on. Details of the offers can be found below:

*Double Odds 1st Goalscorer

**Giroud to score and Arsenal to win WAS 6/4 NOW 2/1

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.