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BETTING PREVIEW: ASTON VILLA vs ARSENAL

Premier League

Arsenal face a crucial clash against Aston Villa on Saturday as they look to keep the chasing pack at bay as the hunt hots up for a top-four finish in the English Premier League.

The Gunners are still handily placed on the EPL standings despite Wednesday’s disappointing 2-0 defeat to Liverpool, which proved once again that there is still some daylight between them and leading powerhouse clubs in the league.

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However, this season is all about finishing in that coveted fourth place to secure a Champions League qualifying berth. That’s where Arsenal currently find themselves (Games played: 27, Points: 51), but are closely followed by Manchester United (Games played: 29, Points: 50), West Ham (Games played: 29, Points: 48) and Tottenham Hotspur (Games played: 28, Points: 48).

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With games still in hand, Arsenal can control their own destiny, but Saturday’s trip to face ninth-placed Villa is suddenly shaping up as a must-win.

Steven Gerrard’s side are still in reasonable form despite falling to defeat at West Ham last time out, with the likes of Matty Cash, Philippe Coutinho and Jacob Ramsey all finding their stride of late.

Villa will be without Lucas Digne for this weekend’s fixture, but Gerrard is hopeful of having Douglas Luiz and Calum Chambers available.

For Arsenal, they face a third game in the space of a week, and it was notable that manager Mikel Arteta Arteta brought off Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette against Liverpool as he sought to manage the game-time of his squad.

“Don’t worry on Saturday, the players will be there with energy. They will sleep, eat well. But thank you so much to the Premier League for putting the fixtures like this. Very, very helpful,” Arteta said sarcastically this week.

Notably, Aston Villa have won two home games on the trot against Arsenal in the Premier League, but there is no doubt that the Gunners will be favourites to come out on top this time around.

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