Arsenal have top four spot in sight as struggling Villa visit

Arsenal can run riot against Aston Villa. The future looks bright for the Gunners, both short and long term; they are starting to get the balance right, as shown in the 2-0 away win against Manchester City, there is no doubt that they will qualify for the Champions League, and they have a fantastic chance of retaining the FA Cup.

Arsene Wenger’s men are overwhelmingly odds-on with Coral at 2/7 to beat Aston Villa, though the Frenchman is unlikely to risk Chilean Alexis Sanchez who has a hamstring problem. On the opening day of last season, the visitors stunned the Gunners with a 3-1 victory, however, earlier in this campaign the north London outfit crushed Paul Lambert’s boys 3-0, with all the goals coming in the first half.

The same scoreline is being offered at a tempting 13/2, even with notable home absentees. As well as Sanchez, Danny Welbeck and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are unlikely to be risked, however, Olivier Giroud has been in superb form after recovering from injury, and has seven goals in 14 appearances this term.

The centre forward is 10/3 to break the deadlock, and dispatched last time out in the Premier League, in the win at the Etihad. Although currently in fifth place, Arsenal have Manchester United in their sights, and trail them by just one point. Villa haven’t won in the league since the beginning of December, and the possibility of leaving the Emirates with anything looks very unlikely.

Their only hope is that striker Christian Benteke finds his scoring boots, and is hit by a sense of deja vu, after bagging a brace in their win last season. The Belgian is 11/4 to net anytime.

Mesut Ozil scored in the reverse match this season, and having recently come back from injury is 6/1 to break the deadlock. Meanwhile, new signing Gabriel Paulista is in contention to make his debut and has odds of 12/1 to cap his performance with a goal anytime.

Santi Cazorla has been in sensational form of late for the Guuners and is 9/1 to score two or more, while Theo Walcott could capitalise on the absence of key players, and is evens to strike anytime.

For the visitors, while it could well be a case of damage limitation, they have nothing to lose. New signing Carles Gil will have the chance to impress against quality opposition, and the attacker is 10/3 to net anytime, while fearless youngster Jack Grealish could start and is 5/1 in the same market.