Arsenal vs Aston Villa – Premier League match preview

Arsenal welcome back ‘unbelievable’ Aston Villa manager Unai Emery for the first time in the Premier League on Sunday.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta (left) and Aston Villa manager Unai Emery
Aston Villa manager Unai Emery (right) can do the double over his former club Arsenal and their manager Mikel Arteta (left) in the Premier League [Hannah Mckay/Reuters]

Who: Arsenal vs Aston Villa, Premier League
Where: Emirates Stadium, London
When: Sunday, April 14, 15:30 GMT
Head-to-head record: 202 games – 87 wins for Arsenal, 70 for Aston Villa, 45 draws

Aston Villa’s progress under former Arsenal manager Unai Emery has been incredible, his successor Mikel Arteta at the Gunners said ahead of their Premier League clash.

Sunday will be the first time Emery has faced Arsenal’s home fans since leaving the club, with his previous visit in 2021 as Villarreal manager taking place behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What they have done since Unai came in, he has made a huge impact at the club in terms of performance. They are still in European competition and played (on Thursday). Really impressed by what they have done,” Arteta told reporters.

Villa finished seventh last season after Emery joined in October 2022, their first top-10 finish since 2010-11. They are now fifth on 60 points, 11 behind leaders Arsenal.

The 52-year-old Emery also completed 1,000 matches as a manager when Villa beat Lille 2-1 in their Europa Conference League quarterfinal, first leg on Thursday.

“Unbelievable. And he’s done it in so many different countries and contexts,” Arteta said.

“He’s from very close to my hometown. I have huge admiration and respect for him. Wish him the best after Sunday.”

Arsenal have already come unstuck against the Villains

Arsenal lost at Villa in October and, with Liverpool level on points and defending champions Manchester City one behind, Arteta stressed the need to focus on each match without letting the title race be a distraction.

“Every game is going to define what our future looks like,” he added. “It’s the only thing possible to look at one game, and one day. Because it’s the only thing that maintains your focus and determining the task that you have to do on the day.”

In striker Ollie Watkins, who has been involved in a league-high 28 goals (18 goals and 10 assists), Villa have a player capable of denting Arsenal’s hopes.

Indeed, Watkins is only one short of matching the club record of 19 Premier League goals set by Christian Benteke in 2012-13.

Douglas Luiz is suspended after the midfielder picked up a 10th yellow card last weekend.

Matty Cash and Clement Lenglet have returned to training and could make an appearance but Tyrone Mings, Jacob Ramsey, Boubacar Kamara and Emi Buendia are all still injured.

Al Jazeera Sport will have live coverage of both Arsenal and Liverpool’s matches on Sunday, including four hours of build-up as well as full text commentaries and post-match reactions.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies