Each of the hosts’ last five home matches in the Premier League has seen both teams find the back of the net, but only one of those contests has ended in victory for Emery, who needs no briefing on the dangers that his former employers will pose in the West Midlands.
For Arsenal, the destiny of the title is still in their own hands, and a point would send them back to the summit on Saturday before Man City tackle Nottingham Forest in the afternoon, but more and more questions are now being asked about the credentials of this young team.
Nevertheless, Arsenal still travel to Villa Park as the Premier League’s best-performing away team. There may not be a better time all season for Emery to pit his wits against his former club, and Villa’s taste for goals coupled with Arsenal’s downturn in fortunes makes clean sheets here seem like a pipe dream.
However, Villa have still flattered to deceive in front of their own fans, and their leaky defence will no doubt be exposed by an Arsenal side who outplayed Man City in the first half in midweek, so we have faith in the Gunners to pull themselves out of the rut and rise back to the summit.