Arsenal at Villa Park, big match and match facts

Because we keep getting better, the games become more important. When looking at our December fixtures in November, the big game was always Manchester City, but this game is now bigger.

And it's not because we would have beaten the Champions and the League leaders in a week, although that would be quite impressive, it's because when looking at the December fixtures last month, not many gave us a chance of either, despite the fine form and position.

And if you were to look at the two matches this time last week, we'd all have ultimately agreed that this match was going to be tougher. Arsenal are playing well and they have something about them at the moment. They had it last season too but lost it and much like last season Manchester City ended the season well.

I write that because with Arsenal, you just don't know but with Manchester City, you sort of do. I'm writing that because I still think Manchester City will win the League only because we've seen this before from Arsenal. That said, if Arteta is going to become the manager every Arsenal fan wants him to become, he is going to learn and if that happens, Arsenal will one day not run out of steam.

That was a. roundabout way of me writing that today is going to be tough whatever way we look at it, but if we play like we did against Manchester City, we can beat anyone. You've all seen the stats from the match, so I wont go there, but if we can pull that off again, I see no reason why we can't win.

That said, asking for another performance like that is a big ask and we can't expect that week in week out. We can hope for it and you never know, but we should just be over the moon in knowing that whatever happens today, we will be top four at the end of this weekend and next week it's back to European football. 

I'm going to head to the ski hill for a few runs, back this afternoon. 

Match facts from the BBC


  • Arsenal have won four consecutive league meetings, after Mikel Arteta lost each of his first three top-flight matches in charge against Aston Villa.
  • Villa's two victories in their past 21 home league matches versus Arsenal were both by 1-0, in July 2020 and February 2021 (D7, L12).

Aston Villa

  • Villa have equalled the club record of 14 successive home league wins, previously achieved in the top flight in 1903 and again in 1931. They last dropped points at Villa Park when conceding two stoppage-time goals in a 4-2 defeat by Arsenal in February.
  • They are vying to win their opening eight home matches in a top-flight season for the first time since 1932-33.
  • Only in 1980-81, when they last won the title, have Aston Villa ever had more than their current tally of 32 points after 15 top-flight games in a season.
  • Their total of 23 Premier League victories in 2023 is level with Arsenal and only bettered by the 26 for Manchester City. Villa haven't won more top-flight fixtures in a calendar year since equalling the club record of 24 in 1931.
  • The Villans are the only club not to have dropped a Premier League point from a winning position this season, winning all 10 games in which they have led.
  • However, they are winless in eight Premier League encounters against sides starting the day top of the table, losing each of the last five, since beating Chelsea 1-0 in March 2014.
  • Unai Emery is only the fifth manager to win as many as 25 of his first 40 Premier League matches in charge of a club. He won 25 of his 51 top-flight fixtures with Arsenal (D13, L13).
  • Ollie Watkins has scored 20 Premier League goals in 2023, one shy of the club record for a calendar year set by Dwight Yorke in 1996.
  • Leon Bailey has scored five goals in 13 league appearances during the current campaign, as many as he managed in his first two seasons for Villa combined.


  • The Gunners have won six competitive matches in a row, scoring 18 goals, since their only Premier League defeat of the season at Newcastle United on 4 November.
  • They have the most points (55), wins (17) and clean sheets (14) in Premier League away fixtures since the beginning of last season,
  • Arsenal's tally of 36 points is their third highest after 15 games of a Premier League campaign, behind last season's 40 and 37 in 2007-08.
  • They have scored five Premier League goals in second-half stoppage time this season, earning an extra four points.
  • Mikel Arteta has won 86 of his 149 Premier League matches as a manager. Only Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp and Alex Ferguson had a better record after 150 games.
  • Gabriel Jesus hasn't lost any of the 58 Premier League fixtures in which he's scored, a competition record.
  • Bukayo Saka, 22, is poised to become the fifth-youngest player to make 150 Premier League appearances.