Arsenal vs Aston Villa predicted XI: Ground can be made up

Arsenal, Cedric Soares (Photo by PAUL CHILDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Arsenal, Cedric Soares (Photo by PAUL CHILDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Arsenal, Cedric Soares
Arsenal, Cedric Soares (Photo by PAUL CHILDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

Arsenal is coming off back-to-back resounding victories and now they face relegation-bait Aston Villa. Here’s how they could line up.

After losing to Tottenham, you wouldn’t have been alone in thinking that Arsenal was doomed to dying on a vine and settling into midtable obscurity. But not on Mikel Arteta‘s watch. Rather than wither and die, they showed up in a big way against Premier League Champions Liverpool and then against the reigning champs and second place Machester City.

Neither match was a show of dominance, but what the Gunner showed in both was a tremendous fight and determination that we just haven’t seen in years past. There was grit, there was spirit, there was belief.

And somehow there was also strong defense. Keeping Liverpool and City confined to one total goal is truly a show of defensive magnitude the likes of which many don’t believe exists. Well, it does. And Aston Villa is next up against it.

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Liverpool was playing for a 100-point season, City was playing for a berth in the FA Cup finals, but Aston Villa will be playing for their lives. If they win, they can go level on points with Watford, who are currently sitting safely outside the relegation zone.

With Arsenal playing Watford in the last match, the way out for Villa is clear—beat Arsenal, then get a point from West Ham while the Gunners beat Watford. It’s a clear path to staying afloat, and it’s a path that is very, very doable.

Except for the beating Arsenal part.

No, really though, this may just be the toughest of the three matches because chances are, we’re going to take the City/Liverpool role of dominating possession and Villa will take the Arsenal role of scrapping and counterattacking. We’ve seen how effective that underdog role can be first hand and it’s not like we can just not give it to them.

There aren’t any injuries or exclusions to talk about. Eddie Nketiah is back for selection and all that were injured still are. So let’s talk about how the 3-4-3 should look in this one.


Emiliano Martinez is the man. Ask no questions.

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