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Preview: Aston Villa v Arsenal, Team News, Line-Up & Prediction
Arsenal take on Aston Villa at Villa Park tomorrow afternoon knowing victory will see us go top of the Premier League table.
With leaders Leicester City not playing Chelsea until Monday night, we can leapfrog them and second-placed Manchester City if we beat the Villains tomorrow.
Ordinarily I’d say that won’t be an easy task but Villa have been dreadful so far this season and they sit rock bottom of the table on just 6 points, so we simply have to win this game if we want to call ourselves genuine title challengers.
The players should still be on a high after Wednesday’s sensational 3-0 win at Olympiacos which booked our place in the last 16 of the Champions League. Let’s just hope we don’t suffer any sort of European hangover and we use that win as a springboard for further success.
Arsene has confirmed that Sanchez is set to return to training on Monday as he looks to overcome his hamstring injury but he obviously won’t feature tomorrow.
The boss has also played down suggestions that Wilshere will make his comeback before the end of the month and with Cazorla, Coquelin and Arteta all also unavailable, Flamini will continue alongside Ramsey in midfield.
Welbeck and Rosciky are our other two long-term injury concerns but thankfully we didn’t pick up any fresh problems in midweek so it will be much the same squad that faced Olympiakos.
While Arsene may be tempted to stick with the same eleven that won in Greece, I’d like to see a couple of changes made. Gabriel has been unlucky not to see more first team football of late so I’d like to see him given a run-out in defence with Mertesacker rested.
Campbell was excellent against Olympiacos but Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott need game-time to get themselves back up to speed so I’d go with them on the wings.
Oli Giroud will be looking to kick-on after his superb hat-trick in midweek so he should continue to lead the line up front:
We have an excellent record against Villa and as I’ve already stated, they are a poor side this season so there is no reason to think we shouldn’t bring home all three points. Former Arsenal midfielder Remi Garde will be in the opposition dugout after being appointed as Villa boss so I’m sure he’ll be keen to get one over his old mentor Arsene Wenger, but I’m going to back the boys to secure a 2-0 win.
Villa 0-2 Arsenal