Sky Sports pundit states his prediction for Arsenal v Aston Villa
Sky Sports pundit Charlie Nicholas is tipping Arsenal to ease to a 4-2 win over Aston Villa on Sunday
Charlie Nicholas is backing Arsenal to ease to a 4-2 victory over promoted side Aston Villa at The Emirates on Sunday afternoon.
The Gunners will return to Premier League action following their impressive 3-0 victory over Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt in their Europa League opener in Germany on Thursday night.
Goals from Joe Willock, Bukayo Saka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang allowed Arsenal to make the perfect start to their European campaign under Unai Emery.
Arsenal have been unable to win their last three Premier League games and have lost ground on leaders Liverpool FC at the top of the table.
The Gunners lost 3-1 to Liverpool FC at Anfield last month before Emery’s men played out successive 2-2 draws with Tottenham Hotspur and Watford in their last two outings.
Arsenal squandered a 2-0 lead at Vicarage Road after mistakes from defenders Sokratis Papastathopoulos and David Luiz cost the north London side two points.
Former Gunners midfielder Nicholas is confident that Arsenal will ease to resounding victory over Aston Villa at The Emirates on Sunday.
“Where do I start with Arsenal?” Nicholas told Sky Sports.
“They must get more from Nicolas Pepe and he must be match fit now. Pepe needs to use his trickery and pace to help Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Unai Emery must stick with Reiss Nelson or Joe Willock. How can you make sense of the defence? I don’t know who will partner David Luiz.
“It doesn’t matter whether there are one or two midfielders protecting the back four and I think it is time to leave Granit Xhaka out of the side.
“There are a lot of goals for Arsenal at home. Dani Ceballos must play and Mesut Ozil too – they moved it around well last week.
“I like Mateo Guendouzi but he is young, naïve and gets attracted to the ball. They need to sort themselves out in defence and if they are not good enough, you leave them out. Put Lucas Torreira in front of midfield.”
He added: “Aston Villa are vulnerable defensively, but can counter-attack with John McGinn and Jack Grealish, while Wesley is a handful up front. It should be comfortable but I don’t think it will be and there will be goals.”
Arsenal finished in fifth place in the Premier League table last term to miss out on a top-four finish for the third successive season.
The Gunners haven’t won the Premier League title since their famous unbeaten season back in 2003-04.