Arsenal are hoping to extend their winning run to three games in all competitions when they lock horns with Aston Villa on Sunday. The Gunners are currently ninth in the league table, but a win this weekend could put them much closer to the top four. They are also heading into the game on the back of two back to back wins against Manchester United and Molde FK, so confidence will be high in their camp.
Aston Villa, on the other hand, have drifted off a bit, following their remarkable start to the campaign. The Villans suffered their first defeat against Leeds United, which was followed by a narrow 4-3 loss to Southampton in the last game. As a result, Dean Smith’s men are running the risk of being overtaken by Arsenal and a host of other teams should they fail to secure all three points this weekend.
A Brief Tactical Preview Of Arsenal Vs Aston Villa
Mikel Arteta looks to have finally shifted to a four-man backline, although the presence of Kieran Tierney on the left-hand side still makes him quite flexible, as far as their formation is concerned as the Scot can conveniently shift into a centre-back. We are expecting a similar 4-3-3 here, with Bukayo Saka operating on the left-sided midfield, where he will have the freedom to join Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang upfront, with the Gabonese likely to operate more centrally.
Dean Smith has no reason to shift away from his tried and tested 4-3-3 setup. In fact, his side have an excellent chance of dominating the midfield if they can manipulate Arsenal’s second line of press consisting of Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny, given the fact that they do have dynamic midfielders like Douglas Luiz and John McGinn, as well as Ross Barkley. It won’t be surprising to see Jack Grealish operating in a more central role either.
Arteta was boosted by the return of David Luiz in midweek and the Brazilian hopes to retain his place in the starting lineup. He, along with Bernd Leno, are the only two players expected to remain in the starting eleven. Reiss Nelson, meanwhile, missed the midweek fixture with a minor knock while Calum Chambers is also a doubt, though none of these two players were tipped to feature in this contest.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Leno; Bellerin, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney; Elneny, Partey, Saka; Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang.
Smith has confirmed that Bertrand Traore will miss the trip to north London. Wesley and Tom Heaton remain the other notable absentees for the away side, although it will be interesting to see how the latter’s replacement in Emiliano Martinez fares against his former club.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett; McGinn, Luiz, Barkley; Trezeguet, Watkins, Grealish.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been one of the positives for Arsenal in recent weeks, with the Gabonese international scoring two goals in his last two matches. His return of form could bode well for the Gunners, but it remains to be seen whether or not he can find the back of the net this time out.
As mentioned earlier, Martinez is the none to watch out for as the Argentine braces himself for a contest against his former side. He has been in excellent form since joining Aston Villa and will be hoping to outperform Bernd Leno in goal this weekend.