Arsenal v Aston Villa Preview: Team News, Preferred XI & Prediction

By on August 16, 2013

After a hugely frustrating summer of transfer in-activity, football is finally back as we welcome Aston Villa to the Emirates on Saturday afternoon.

We clinched fourth place on the final day last season and with all the noises coming out of the club in early June about big budgets and ambitious plans, we all thought this summer and the forthcoming season were going to be different. Sadly, it’s once again been a case of broken promises as the club have failed to do anything of note in the transfer market and we face another season of chasing fourth spot.

We now head into the opening weekend with a thread-bare squad and it looks like we’ll barely be able to name a bench of senior first team players. Quite shambolic for a supposed ‘ambitious’ club that has over £100m cash sitting in the bank, but that’s the situation we find ourselves in on the eve of the big kick-off.

Pre-season was been largely positive with the exception of the Emirates Cup. Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud have been the stand-out players for me. Let’s hope all three continue that form into the new campaign.

Team News

Unfortunately, injuries have reared their ugly head already. Thomas Vermaelen is out for another few weeks with a back injury leaving us with just two fit centre-backs. Nacho Monreal is also unavailable due to his own back complaint while Mikel Arteta has picked up a thigh injury and could be out for up to six weeks.

There were also doubts over the fitness of Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and Bacary Sagna, but it looks as though all three will be available tomorrow.

Santi Cazorla’s fitness will also be assessed after he returned home from a long-haul trip to Ecuador late on Thursday night but I’d expect he will start due to the lack of options. Abou Diaby and Ryo Miyaichi are the other players out injured.

Preferred XI

I’d go with Jenkinson at right back for this game if there are any doubts over Sagna being 100% fit. We will desperately need the Frenchman for the midweek clash away at Fenerbache so lets not take any risks with him. Jenks can handle Villa at home but I’d worry if he had to play away in Turkey.

Otherwise, the only other change could see Tomas Rosicky or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain possibly come in for Lukas Podolski or Santi Cazorla if the Spaniard is fatigued from his exploits in midweek.


Arsenal 2-0 Aston Villa: We may have a thin squad but this eleven should be too strong for the Villains. Lets pray for three points and no injuries!

What would your team be and what’s your score prediction?