Last weekend, the Gunners blew a 2-0 lead as Watford came from behind to secure a point and it goes without saying that Unai Emery’s men cannot afford to be complacent when they come up against Dean Smith’s side.
Arsenal Team News
Alexandre Lacazette remains on the treatment table owing to an ankle problem. However, Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin started for the Under-23 side on Friday and are on their way to full recovery.
Rob Holding travelled to Germany for the Europa League clash against Eintracht Frankfurt and is expected to start on the bench this weekend.
Meanwhile, Sead Kolasinac’s injury doesn’t seem to be too serious and he should be available.
Predicted Arsenal Lineup Vs Aston Villa (4-3-3)
Bernd Leno will start in goal. The German shot-stopper has been in a rich vein of form this season and is Arsenal’s undisputed first-choice goalkeeper.
Emery might use the experienced central defensive pairing of Sokratis and David Luiz in the Arsenal lineup. Individual errors from both of them have cost Arsenal dearly and the duo needs to cut down on that aspect if the Gunners are to have a fruitful season.
Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles are likely to get the nod to start as the full-backs. It is hard to see anyone beyond them at this stroke of the hour even though the pressure will be on given Bellerin and Tierney’s imminent return.
A three-man midfield comprising of Granit Xhaka, Matteo Guendouzi and Dani Ceballos is expected to be rolled out. Mesut Ozil is an alternative in the no.10 role if Ceballos is given the midfield creator role.
But we feel after the debacle last week, Guendouzi might be deployed to shore up the midfield along with Xhaka in the Arsenal lineup.
Guendouzi has undoubtedly been one of the best players for the north London outfit this season. The 20-year-old has made 2 tackles, 2 interceptions and 2 dribbles per game on an average so far and will once again play a key role if handed a start.
Reiss Nelson could get the nod to start on the left-wing while on the opposite flank, Nicolas Pepe is likely to start. The latter has been lively but will hope to get on the scoresheet to kickstart his career in England.
In the absence of Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is expected to lead the line for Arsenal. The Gabonese has scored 5 goals in 5 league outings and will be Arsenal’s key attacking weapon.
Statistics Credits: WhoScored