April 13, 2024

EPL: How Arsenal can hurt Aston Villa using new weak spots

Arsenal vs Crystal Palace: Gunners win 5-0

League leaders, Arsenal will face another test in Aston Villa as they continue their quest for an elusive title in a very tight top-of-the-table race.

As Aston Villa notably slow down towards the end of the season a new defensive vulnerability has opened up.

All three of Brentford’s goals in the 3-3 draw last weekend came from Sergio Reguilon crosses down Villa’s right, following a trend that has been going on for some time.

Manchester City’s first goal in a 4-1 win the previous match was a cutback after Lucas Digne was beaten down Villa’s left; West Ham’s goal in the 1-1 draw was a cross from Villa’s left; and three of Spurs’ goals in their 4-0 win were attacks funnelled behind the Villa full-backs.

In total, eight of Villa’s last 12 goals conceded have followed the same pattern, which tells Mikel Arteta that he needs to overload the wide areas to take on Unai Emery’s full-backs.

Arsenal deployed Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Jesus in wide positions against Brighton & Hove Albion in order to work around the outside of Roberto De Zerbi’s narrow formation.

That was how they won the penalty for the opening goal of the match.

If they successfully pull this off, there’s a very good chance Arsenal will expose Villa’s new Achilles’ heel.