Match Preview: Aston Villa vs Arsenal
Aston Villa start their 2013/14 Barclays Premier League campaign with a tough away trip to face Arsenal at the Emirates.
In the two meetings between the sides last term, the first game ended in a goalless draw whilst Arsenal were victorious in the second.
Away form is certainly something that Paul Lambert and his side will be looking to improve. Last season, they conceded 41 goals away from home, which was the most in the league.
Lambert has brought several new recruits to Villa Park over the summer, but none of them are by any means big names. His side is still very youthful, but the fact that the team are a year wiser after last years shoddy campaign is a key point to consider.
Villa go into the game pretty much injury free, which means we could see Jores Okore and Antonio Luna make their debuts in the Claret and Blue colours.
The fact that Darren Bent joined Fulham yesterday on a season-long loan suggests that Villa are confident of the attacking options they have in their side for the game tomorrow. Christian Benteke bagged 19 goals last year, but he was the only player to make double figures. Giving him some attacking support is going to be a crucial aspect of Villas potential success this season.
Looking at Arsenal, it seems to have been the same old story this summer. Wenger has, up to now, failed to bring any big names to North London. The French manager is often criticised for this, but he is adamant that he will bring two more players in before the transfer window closes. The only player who has been added to the Arsenal squad so far is French youngster, Yaya Sanogo.
Arsenal have a lot of injuries to contend with, but will still certainly fancy their chances of recording an opening day win. Vermaelen, Monreal and Diaby are all confirmed as injured, but Theo Walcott and Mikel Arteta are two big doubts.
I am hoping it will be an attacking and entertaining game today. Arsenal will certainly be favourites, but I think Aston Villa will be confident that they can get a positive result.