Aston Villa might be 11th in the table but they are only 6 points away from last and are badly in need of a few victories to edge them clear and into the upper half. Victory against Sunderland ended a 5 game winless streak dating back to November, another victory would have seen them 9 points clear; however, in Arsenal they face opponents that are in great form and who also have a great record at Villa Park.
When you factor in Aston Villa have been poor at home all season, and Arsenal have the best away record in the league, Arsenal have a great chance of victory.
Central to whether Aston Villa get anything is what they do on the counter attack. The main reason why they have such a poor record is because the lose the ball so frequently. Although this is the case away from Villa Park, when Aston Villa play away, the team they are playing are far more open. This allows Aston Villa to attack with more vigor as there is more space for them to attack.
When they play at home, teams are less reluctant to come forward. This means Aston Villa have the ball more and as they are naturally poor passers, they are losing the ball in more dangerous areas. It comes as no surprise the only teams they have beaten in the league at home so far is Cardiff - a team equally as bad when it comes to passing and Man City - a team that plays very open football and are susceptible to the counter.
Although Arsenal lost 3-1 to Aston Villa earlier in the year, this was done before Flamini was signed. Now that Arsenal have a specialist to anchor the midfield, they will be more prepared to deal with Villa's rampant pace on the counter.
With Aston Villa facing Liverpool, West Brom and Everton in the next few matches, I suspect Paul Lambert will go with an attacking mind to avoid slipping too deeply into the relegation zone and this will suit Arsenal perfectly.
Aston Villa are weak when it comes to intercepting, their tally being the third worst in the league, this will be a match for the likes of Mesut Ozil and Cazorla to thread throughballs and be menaces.
Aston Villa 0-2 Arsenal