Aston Villa needs a result at home following two poor results on the bounce but can they stop the bleeding Gunners? (Photo credit: Inside Sport)
Aston Villa vs ArsenalVilla Park1:30pm
|Aston Villa needs a result at home following two poor results on the bounce but can they stop the bleeding Gunners? (Photo credit: Inside Sport)|
Arsenal has lost their top spot on the premier league log for the first time since early November and now has to show character to chase and haunt down the vastly experienced champions, do they have it in them to do it?
The Gunners have only picked a point from a possible nine and while they have a game in hand against Everton, they need to wake up and start winning again. To be premier league champions, you must be able to overcome the dip, your move Arsenal!
Aston Villa has lost the last two, one to Leicester from a winning position and the other to Manchester City which they couldn’t do much about and the visit of Arsenal is another opportunity for them to halt the rot too.
In Villa’s dugout is a familiar face to Arsenal, Unai Emery managed the Gunners for a season and a half and led them to the Europa League final where they lost scandalously to Chelsea and then capitulated badly in his second season before he was booted out.
Arsenal will assess Thomas Partey ahead of kickoff but Mikel Arteta’s body language suggests he will be unavailable due to the same muscle problem that made him miss the midweek loss to Manchester City at the Emirates.
Aston Villa can welcome most of their injured players back but Diego Carlos still needs about a week while Tyron Mings will be touch and go. Villa is expected to return with Ollie Watkins and Leon Bailey upfront with Douglas Luiz sitting deep against the team that wanted him badly last summer.
Emile Smith Rowe should be on the bench for the Gunners but will Leandro Trossard start? Takehiro Tomiyasu’s costly error could welcome Ben White back as right back but Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah are sure starters as Gabriel Jesus continues to heal.
Arsenal beat Villa 2-1 at the Emirates in the first leg and will look to complete the double over the side that fired Steven Gerrard not long after that defeat; the Gunners have played better away from the Emirates pressure but two of their three defeats this season have come on the road.