Aston Villa travel to North London this weekend to take on Arsenal, in what will be their last Premier League match for at least the next 12 months.
The Midland club have been abysmal this season, picking up only 17 points from their 37 matches thus far, and have been destined for relegation since October, despite winning their opening match of the campaign.
Should Villa go on to lose to Arsenal (as expected) they will have finished the campaign with 13 losses and a 0-0 stalemate from their final 14 matches, which makes dismal reading for any of the clubs fans.
Arsenal on the other hand come into the match having remained unbeaten since being knocked out of Europe by Barcelona, winning four and drawing four of their last eight outings.
The Gunners have had their place in the top-four sealed by Manchester United’s failure to beat West Ham in midweek, and can now concentrate on trying to beat neighbours Tottenham to second in the table.
Arsenal refused to be beaten last weekend, despite falling behind to Manchester City on two occasions, Arsene Wenger’s side came out of the match with a 2-2 draw. with Olivier Giroud ending a four-month barren run, while Alexis Sanchez continued his goalscoring run also as they denied City from leapfrogging them into third in the table.
The Frenchman is near-guaranteed to start once again for Arsenal, and Giroud will be keen to fire one last time before heading off to France for the European Championships, and a number of other players, such as Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere will also be eager to be involved in hope of gaining a seat on the plane for England.
Arsenal clearly have the most to play for, but Villa’s players could also be keen to impress in their final PL game, with some players likely to be keen on earning moves to higher-ranked clubs, and Cieran Clark will also be hoping to play a key role for the Republic of Ireland this summer.
Arsenal v Villa will not be the most watched match of the fixtures, with Manchester United and Man City both having the more important fight to finish in the top four, but it could well be many punters banker for the weekend.
The home side should dominate the match-up comfortably, although it will be interesting to see who is chosen to feature. I expect Wilshere to play from the outset, and Cazorla to also play a part, with Arsenal coming out with a 3-0 or 3-1 win. Arsenal to win and over 2.5 goals in the match is my banker at odds of 1/2 (1.5), although the odds for Arsenal to win both halves at 11/10 (2.1) is more worthy of your money due to the price.