Mark Lawrenson reveals his prediction for Aston Villa v Arsenal
Mark Lawrenson looks ahead to Arsenal's Premier League clash against Aston Villa on Saturday lunchtime
Mark Lawrenson is tipping Arsenal to suffer another blow to their top-four hopes with a 2-1 defeat by Aston Villa at Villa Park on Saturday lunchtime.
The Gunners were beaten 2-0 by Liverpool FC at The Emirates on Wednesday night as their winning run in the top flight came to an end.
Mikel Arteta will now be looking for a response from his Arsenal side as the Gunners look to get their bid to finish in the top-four back on track.
As things stand, Arsenal are fourth in the table and a point ahead of fifth-placed Manchester United, having played two games fewer than the Red Devils, who are not in action this weekend.
The Gunners will be keen to get their bid to qualify for the Champions League back on track, but former Liverpool FC star Lawrenson feels that Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa side will have too much for the north Londoners and is backing them to claim a 2-1 home win in Saturday lunchtime’s clash.
Writing in his column for BBC Sport, Lawrenson said: “Arsenal played well against Liverpool on Wednesday and the game really swung on Alisson’s save from Martin Odegaard after Thiago’s poor back-pass. I thought Gabriel Martinelli, Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey all played well for the Gunners, despite their defeat.
“This is a completely different test, though. It will be interesting to see how Mikel Arteta’s side respond now their five-game winning run is over, and I think this game will tell us more about them than their display against Liverpool did.
“Arsenal have got some very talented young players, and they also have got some games in hand on the teams below them in the table as they look to hang on to fourth spot, but this is a new territory for most of them and we don’t know how they will react.
“Aston Villa had their own good run ended at the weekend, in a defeat by West Ham, but I’ve been impressed by them in recent weeks. I know Arsenal are higher up the table but I wouldn’t say there is much between the two teams at the moment.”
Arsenal have not finished in the top four since 2016, when Arsene Wenger was still in charge at The Emirates.