Arsenal v Aston Villa Match Preview
Arsenal finish their Premier League season with a home match at the Emirates Stadium against relegated Aston Villa this afternoon.
The point Arsenal earned at Manchester City last Sunday ensured they secured a top four finish for the 20th consecutive top-flight seasons. Only Manchester United (22) in 2012-13 have managed more.
The result of today’s match and Tottenham Hotspur’s will determine the final position in the table.
A point, or win, today will secure the Gunners a third place finish and automatic qualification to the group stages of next season’s Champions League.
A win for the Gunners and defeat for Tottenham Hoptspur away to relegated Newcastle United would clinch the runners-up spot in the table.
Aston Villa have endured a torrid season and their fate in being relegated to the Championship was inevitable from early in the season and sealed some time ago.
They haven’t won any of their last 17 Premier League away games, losing 14 in that run. Their only away win this season was on the opening day against Bournemouth. They have scored just seven goals in their last 14 Premier League away matches.
Aston Villa have lost nine of their last 11 meetings with Arsenal in all competitions (W1 D1).
The Gunners have scored 14 goals without reply in the last four meetings in all competitions with Aston Villa.
“It was a strange season.
We’ve finished the season disappointed because we felt we had the chance to win the championship. Of course we are frustrated but Leicester have had consistent results and the rest of the division have had ups and downs.
Is it down to the fact that Leicester were a surprise package? Is it down to the fact that they only played one competition? Certainly there’s some explanation there, but if you only analyse the technical numbers, there’s no rationale. That’s why you have to say they have been absolutely remarkable and you have to congratulate them.
It’s a missed opportunity but it’s a missed opportunity for everybody. If you look at the predictions for the start of the season, Chelsea were first and Manchester City were second. Other people can feel missed opportunities too. In the predictions, people can say they were wrong.
What is important is that we learn from that. If the team only loses three games they will win the league, and that’s what Leicester did.”
“I just want to see the application and endeavour once again.
It’s going to be a very difficult game. Arsenal are exceptional at the Emirates.
“They will have the eye on getting above Tottenham. We will have to extremely conscientious in our defensive duties. We will work hard and look to continue to get the supporters back onside.
“Arsenal have a lot of attacking intent. I have watched their last three games and they have exceptional forward players. They are a top, top team.
“You don’t threaten finishing second with being average.
They play a set system. They have plenty of flair. They have pace and power. They have all the attributes of a top team. We will have to be very diligent to come away with a result.
You’re not going to have the majority of the ball and you’re going to have to defend extremely well and be disciplined and show an enormous amount of energy because they pass the ball quickly and have immensely talented footballers.
We know what it’s like. It’s always difficult.
It’s a game that means something to Arsenal and it should mean something to us.
I thought we coped well against Manchester United, should have got something out of the Watford game, we gave a decent account of ourselves against Newcastle without threatening too much.
The effort and desire have been there. They have applied themselves.
This final game is a big challenge but it’s one we look forward to.”
Olivier Giroud broke his goal drought against Manchester City. He has also scored in each of his last five appearances against Aston Villa in all competitions.
Jordan Ayew is Villa’s leading scorer in the Premier League with seven goals.
Mesut Ozil is set to return after missing the trip to Manchester City last Sunday with a hip injury.
Jack Wilshere is pressing for a start after playing for 75 minutes as a substitute against Manchester City.
Santi Cazorla could also feature after playing for the Under-21s in their 3-1 play-off win over Aston Villa on Tuesday.
Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky and Mathieu Flamini are also in line to feature in the matchday squad on what are likely to be their last appearances for the club.
Danny Welbeck (knee), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee) and Per Mertesacker (hamstring) are all out injured.
Provisional squad: Ospina, Cech, Monreal, Gibbs, Gabriel, Chambers, Koscielny, Bellerin, Ramsey, Elneny, Wilshere, Cazorla, Ramsey, Rosicky, Arteta, Ozil, Reine-Adelaide, Iwobi, Sanchez, Campbell, Walcott, Giroud.
Alan Hutton, Ciaran Clark, Jordan Veretout and Kieran Richardson are all injury doubts.
Teenager Kevin Toner is likely to retain his place, Aly Cissokho is available again after suspension and Rudy Gestede has resumed training after injury ruled him out of the goalless draw with Newcastle last weekend.
Provisional squad: Guzan, Bunn, Bacuna, Hutton, Clark, Richards, Lescott, Toner, Westwood, Sanchez, Lyden, Gana, Gil, Grealish, Ayew, Gestede, Sinclair, Traore.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg Assistants: J Brooks, A Halliday Fourth Official: R East
Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 10 games on the final day of the season (W8 D2). The last team to beat them on the final day of a Premier League season was Birmingham City in 2005. Expect that record to continue with a 3-0 win today.