We have the starting teams from Arsenal v Aston Villa, in their opening match of the Premier League Season.
It’s a big season for Arsenal. They scraped into fourth position last season and they will face a massive challenge form their North London rivals to keep their Champions League status. They have a decent squad but they are a long way short of the title.
Villa will be hoping to fair better then last season and they will hope that their young players will benefit from a tough season. Arsenal should get off to a winning start here, but Villa will try to frustrate them.
Arseanl: Szczesny; Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Gibbs; Ramsey, Wilshere; Walcott, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Giroud. Arsenal subs: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Frimpong, Cazorla, Gnabry, Podolski, Sanogo.
Aston Villa XI (4-3-3): Guzan; Lowton, Vlaar, Baker, Luna; El Ahmadi, Westwood, Delph; Agbonlahor, Benteke, Weimann.
Asrton Villa Subs: Steer, Okore, Clark, Bacuna, Helenius, Bowery, Tonev
- Arsenal have lost only two of their last 29 league meetings with Aston Villa (W18, D9, L2).
- Villa have only won twice on their last 27 league trips to Arsenal, although both of those were at the Emirates Stadium. Villa have taken eight points from seven visits to the stadium, including a 1-1 draw in the first competitive fixture there on the opening day of the 2006-07 season.
- The Gunners lost only one of their last 16 Premier League games in 2012-13 (W12, D3, L1), clinching Champions League qualification for the 16th consecutive season.
- Arsenal are unbeaten on the opening day in 12 seasons since a 1-0 defeat at Sunderland in 2000 (W8, D4). Arsene Wenger’s side have drawn their first game in each of the last three seasons.
- It is 20 years since they lost at home on the opening weekend – a 3-0 defeat by Coventry.
- Arsenal took 32 points from the teams who finished in the bottom six last season; only Manchester United (36) fared better.
- They only conceded in the final 15 minutes of one Premier League match in 2012-13 (two goals v Swansea).
- Theo Walcott scored with one in four of his attempts on goal last season, compared to one in six for the average forward.
- Villa have played their opening fixture away from Villa Park 12 times in the Premier League era and have only won once (1-0 at Newcastle in 1999), drawing seven and losing four.
- However, they were the only top-flight side to earn more points away (21) than at home (20) last season.
- Paul Lambert’s side earned 17 points from their last 10 games last season to avoid relegation (W5, D2, L3).
- Villa ended last season with their worst defensive record since 1986-87, having conceded 69 goals.
- Christian Benteke scored or created 49% of the club’s Premier League goals last season – a higher proportion than any other top-flight player. He scored seven goals in five pre-season matches this summer.