Predicted Arsenal lineup vs Aston Villa: Toughest test yet

  • Arsenal face Aston Villa side that have won their last 14 Premier League games at Villa Park
  • Gunners will be without Mikel Arteta on the sidelines
  • Takehiro Tomiyasu added to injury list

Arsenal celebrated a dramatic victory on Tuesday night
Arsenal celebrated a dramatic victory on Tuesday night / Julian Finney/GettyImages
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Arsenal must sober up sharply from Tuesday night's drama at Kenilworth Road as they visit an Aston Villa side that have won their last 14 Premier League games at Villa Park.

The Gunners were the last team to beat Unai Emery's side on their own patch, but it took a mightily fortunate Jorginho effort late on in order to do so. You feel they'll need similar good fortune to walk away with all three points this weekend.

Mikel Arteta won't be on the sidelines after he picked up his third caution of the season in the week, but he'll still be picking the team, and here's how we think Arsenal could set up at Villa Park.


Predicted Arsenal lineup vs Aston Villa

Mikel Arteta
Mikel Arteta won't be on the sidelines at Villa Park / Julian Finney/GettyImages

Goalkeeper & Defenders

David Raya (GK) - Arteta has backed Raya in the wake of his dreadful display at Luton, so we don't expect a goalkeeper change anytime soon.

Ben White (RB) - With Takehiro Tomiyasu out for the next month or so, White will enjoy a prolonged run in the side again.

William Saliba (CB) - Saliba will be tasked with tracking the forays of sharpshooter Ollie Watkins this weekend. It's a tough assignment, but one the Frenchman is capable of mastering.

Gabriel (CB) - Villa will aim to get Gabriel defending in places he simply doesn't want to. Their crafty rotations mean the Brazilian will have to be on the ball throughout.

Oleksandr Zinchenko (LB) - Arsenal improved in possession when Zinchenko entered the fray in midweek and, like White, he should enjoy a few starts on the spin this month.


Midfielders

Declan Rice (DM) - I don't like the idea of Jorginho starting on Saturday given Villa's midfield power. Give me Rice at the #6. Arsenal are going to need the very best of the superstar midfielder at Villa Park.

Kai Havertz (CM) - I like the inclusion of Havertz for away games. The German produced his best performance of the season at Luton, and he deserves to keep his place.

Martin Odegaard (CM) - The skipper took the game by the scruff of the neck late on last time out. Odegaard has shown signs of returning to his very best form since the November break.

Forwards

Bukayo Saka (RW) - After enjoying his 200th Arsenal appearance with an assist and a win, Saka will be looking to contribute to another significant victory on Saturday.

Gabriel Jesus (ST) - Jesus was excellent at Luton and he's developing a fine relationship with Havertz. He's a shoo-in to start.

Gabriel Martinelli (LW) - This feels like a game for Martinelli given the space Villa surrender in behind. Emery could deploy Ezri Konsa at right-back again in a bid to keep the Brazilian winger quiet.