Aston Villa Preview: Good Ebening, Unai!!!
Aston Villa host Arsenal in the lunch time fixture of the Premier League this week in what will be a make or break game for Mikel Arteta’s side. The Gunners have hit a very rough patch of form, picking up a single point from the last available nine, which isn’t what you would expect from a team trying to win their first Premier League title in 19 years. Arsenal’s last defeat in the League to Man City saw the Gunner drop from the summit of the Premier League for the first time since November 2022, and the lads will be looking to get a psychological advantage by gaining three points and ending the bad run of form with a victory against a familiar face, Unai Emery.
Emery began his Aston Villa career in good form, with the team being a shadow of the side that was so poor under Steven Gerrard, but they have had some rough spells as well, losing three of their last five games which included an embarrassing home loss in the FA Cup to a lower league outing, Stevenage. Emery will also not look at his time at Arsenal with fondness, even though he started well, and failed to qualify for the Champions League, and cocking things up in the Europa League final against Chelsea, a competition he has a penchant for winning.
To team news, Aston Villa will still be without their star defender, Diego Carlos, that suffered a nasty Achilles injury early in the season and the club will be sweating over the fitness of defensive mainstay, Tyron Mings, that suffered a knock in the Leicester game that saw him miss the defeat to Man City. Emery will also have the left back conundrum to deal with, as Lucas Digne and new signing, Alex Moreno, lock horns every week to fight for a starting berth.
Arsenal on the other hand will be making late calls on the availability of Thomas Partey and Emile Smith-Rowe, with both players recovering from injury layoffs. Partey’s replacement, Jorginho, had a good game against Man City, making several blocks, interceptions, recoveries and progressive passes on the night. He even showed good defensive prowess, clearing the ball off the line. Gabriel Jesus and Mo Elneny remain long term absentees, while Reiss Nelson has been pictured training with the lads and is ready for action.
To the predicted lineups, I’d expect Benjamin White to return to the starting XI ahead of Takehiro Tomiyasu, and this game might be too soon for Partey, so Jorginho should retain his place in the side. Leandro Trossard has been knocking on the heels of Gabriel Martinelli for a start, but I believe the Brazilian winger will get the nod. He’s in dire need of a goal though. Unai Emery might not make any major changes to the team that lost to Man City, but with Mings facing a fitness test, he might get the nod over former Arsenal man, Calum Chambers. Club captain, John McGinn, might be hoping to start ahead of Jacob Ramsey, but I still expect the youngster to keep his place on the right side of the Aston Villa midfield.
Aston Villa vs Arsenal Predicted Lineups
Aston Villa: Martinez; Young, Mings, Konsa, Moreno; Ramsey, D. Luiz, Kamara, Buendia; Bailey, Watkins
Arsenal: Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Jorginho, Xhaka, Odegaard; Martinelli, Nketiah, Saka.
Injury / Suspension Updates
Aston Villa: Diego Carlos (Achilles), Mings (knock)
Arsenal: Mohamed Elneny (knee), Thomas Partey (muscle), Gabriel Jesus (knee), Smith-Rowe (thigh)
Aston Villa Form
- Last Five Games: L W W L L
- Last Result: Man City 3-1 Aston Villa (Rodri 6′, Gundogan 39′, Mahrez 45′ | Watkins 61′)
- Leading Goalscorer: Ollie Watkins, Danny Ings (7)
- Last Five Games: W L L D L
- Last Result: Arsenal 1-3 Man City (Saka 42′ | De Bruyne 24′, Grealish 72′, Haaland 82′)
- Leading Goalscorer: Eddie Nketiah, Bukayo Saka (9)
Gooner Daily predicts a 1 – 0 victory.
Kick Off – 1.30pm (GMT +1) at Emirates Stadium.
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