After losing consecutive games to league-leading Manchester City and Leicester City (4-2) in the Premier League (PL), Aston Villa may feel that its recent progress in going four Premier League (PL) games without losing (W3, D1) has been partly undone (3-1). Although though those high-scoring games may have been entertaining to watch, Villa, who are currently in 11th position, will find it challenging to get into the top half of the table if they continue their recent record of maintaining just two clean sheets in their previous 12 games.
Villa Park has been the victim of these subpar defensive efforts; since the World Cup break, the Villans have only triumphed once at home (D1, L3). Although Villa has dropped each of the last three head-to-heads, manager Unai Emery will be attempting to exploit his knowledge of former employers Arsenal when they visit.
Since defeating a Tottenham team captained by George Graham 2-0 in March 2001, this will be Arsenal’s first encounter with a former manager. Nevertheless, current manager Mike Arteta won’t be thinking about it at all. His team’s 3-1 setback to rival championship contender Manchester City taught them that there is little room for error at the top of the table. cutting their former eight-point lead in half in midweek and ending a four-game losing streak (D1, L3).
The Gunners may have the advantage of a game in hand since they are currently second on goal differential, but it may be for naught if their already terrible week gets much worse with another defeat tonight. At least they can take comfort in the fact that they have triumphed in four of their last six trips to Villa Park (L2), making it their second-most successful away PL venue with 13 triumphs behind their 14 victory at West Ham.
Players to keep an eye on: Arsenal will be looking for some Gabriel Martinelli magic here as they have won each of the previous 14 games the Brazilian has scored in. Villa’s Leon Bailey has scored 15 of his last 17 club goals at home.
This season, Aston Villa has experienced a league-high 17 goals scored in the first 15 minutes of their league games.
Diego Carlos is speeding up his rehabilitation from Achilles surgery, but he won’t be ready for this match, and Jed Steer is also recovering from a calf injury. Villa may soon have a complete roster of players, though.
But, recently-returned Bertrand Traore may be able to play his way into the lineup as he recovers from a knee injury. Tyrone Mings may also be available for Emery to use; he missed the loss to City due to an unidentified issue.
Following a lackluster performance at the Etihad, Calum Chambers, an ex-Arsenal player, would likely be benched along with Lucas Digne, who may replace him in place of Alex Moreno.
The news that Thomas Partey would miss the match against Man City because of a muscular injury caused groans to be heard throughout North London. But, his absence was termed as precautionary, and there is still a chance that he may be able to play on Saturday.
Nonetheless, Mohamed Elneny and Gabriel Jesus are undoubtedly out while recovering from knee surgery, but Emile Smith Rowe (thigh) should be back in the lineup. Jorginho was one of the Gunners’ standout performances on Wednesday night and will start again if necessary.
Ben White should start here as Arteta’s decision to play Takehiro Tomiyasu against Man City did not end out well. The short turnaround will also increase Leandro Trossard’s chances of starting over Gabriel Martinelli.
Martinez, Young, Konsa, Mings, Moreno, Kamara, Luiz, Ramsey, Buendia, Watkins, and Bailey are potential starters for Aston Villa.
Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Xhaka, Jorginho, Saka, Odegaard, Trossard, and Nketiah are possible starters for Arsenal.
We predict Aston Villa 1-2 Arsenal.
There may not be a greater opportunity for Emery to face off against his old team this season, and clean sheets here look like a pipe dream given Villa’s penchant for scoring and Arsenal’s recent struggles.
We have faith in the Gunners to emerge from their slump and regain the top spot, despite the fact that Villa still tried to fool their own supporters and that their frail defense will undoubtedly be exposed by an Arsenal team that outperformed Man City in the opening half of their midweek match.