- Arsenal boss offers injury update on Cazorla & Giroud
- Ratings: Cech shines but Ozil fails to spark as Arsenal held
- Video: Arsenal 0-0 Boro: Lackluster Gunners drop valuable points
- Teams: Arsenal v Middlesbrough: Cazorla out, Elneny in
- Team news: Wenger’s update on Ramsey, Welbeck, Giroud & Cazorla
- Preview: Arsenal v Boro, team news, line-up & prediction
- [Photos] Arsenal duo step-up injury comebacks in training today
- [Photos] Arsenal boost as injury doubt trains ahead of Boro game
- Arsene Wenger sets comeback date for forgotten Arsenal man
- Arsenal boss confirms fresh injury doubt for Middlesbrough game
PREVIEW: Arsenal v Aston Villa: Team News, Line-Up + Prediction
Arsenal get back to domestic matters on Saturday when we take on Aston Villa at Villa Park, kicking off at 3pm.
It was a hugely disappointing start to our Champions League campaign as the players put in arguably their worst performance of the season and despite Welbeck missing a couple of decent chances, we were lucky to come away with a 2-0 loss in the end.
The display was the complete opposite of that we saw against Man City last weekend. We showed a great deal of character and determination to come from behind to almost take the three points against the champions.
However, we were second best in every department on Tuesday and the majority of the players looked lethargic and disinterested at times, so we’re going to have to pick things up if we want to get a result tomorrow.
Villa have started the season in superb fashion and currently sit second in the table after winning three and drawing one of their opening four games, with their latest victory coming last weekend with a 1-0 win at Anfield.
If the win over Liverpool didn’t tell the players this isn’t going to be an easy game, then I don’t know what will. If we turn up with the attitude we had on Tuesday, we’re going to lose. Simple as that.
Nacho Monreal has failed to recover from his back injury so continues on the sidelines. Kieran Gibbs was sure to continue at left-back anyway but it leaves us with one less option on the bench.
Arsene has declared Jack Wilshere fit to play despite him picking up an ankle knock in midweek, while Calum Chambers is also available again after overcoming tonsillitis.
Mathieu Debuchy will find out tonight how long he’ll be on the sidelines for, let’s hope for some good news on that front, but Mathieu Flamini is back in the squad after missing the Dortmund game with a groin problem.
Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott are still out, and they’re joined on the treatment table by Yaya Sanogo as he hasn’t recovered from a hamstring injury yet.
As for Villa, Paul Lambert is sweating on the fitness of Ron Vlaar with the defender likely to miss out with a calf injury. Christian Benteke continues to miss out with an Achilles injury.
As I’ve said for weeks, I’d like to see Arsene ditch the 4-1-4-1 formation and revert back to 4-2-3-1. It suits our play better and of course means Mesut Ozil can play centrally.
I’d also start The Ox out wide. He looks fresh and hungry, which was two characteristics missing from our team in midweek. It’s a controversial one, but given that Mikel Arteta was dreadful on Tuesday and Flamini’s limitations as a player, I’d go with Jack and Rambo in the middle. All it takes is discipline from the pair to make this work; one stays deep when they other ventures forward.
Unfortunately, in reality Arsene will probably stick to his new 4-1-4-1 formation with Arteta sitting just in front of the defence and Ozil out wide. Sigh….
This isn’t going to be an easy game by any means but if we apply ourselves and put the effort in, then our quality should prove decisive. I’m going for a narrow win because I dare not think about any other result than three points! Aston Villa 1-2 Arsenal