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[Image] My 4-3-3 Arsenal line-up to face Aston Villa: Saka starts, no Ozil or Xhaka

By on September 21, 2019

bukayo saka arsenal

Arsenal can move into the top four with a win when we take on Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon. This is the line-up I’d like Unai Emery to select…

Goalkeeper: Leno

I thought Martinez was excellent against Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday night and in a lot of ways he filled me with more confident than Leno as his handling was sound and he was superb on crosses. However, it will need more than one top performance to replace Leno so I’d stick with our Germany No.1 tomorrow.

Defence: Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Luiz, Kolasinac

We should see changes in defence as Maitland-Niles should come in for Chambers at right-back while Sokratis will replace Mustafi in the middle of the back four. Chambers and Mustafi actually did OK on Thursday night but they should still make way against Villa.

Kolasinac limped off against Frankfurt but it was just a minor knock so he should be fit to start at left-back. Bellerin and Tierney came through 62 minutes for the U23s on Friday night so they are close to making their first team comeback but for now they are unavailable for selection.

Luiz had one of his better games on Thursday but there is no doubt he’s been a bit of a disaster so far since arriving from Chelsea. Holding will certainly push him for a first team place but Rob’s not fully match fit yet so we’ll have to stick with the Brazilian for now.

Midfield: Torreira, Willock, Ceballos

Emery continues to play Xhaka in front of the defence. I get his distribution is an asset when we’re in possession but his lack of defensive awareness and his distinct lack of pace makes him a total liability when we don’t have the ball. For me, the cons out-weight the pros so I’d axe him and play Torreira in the holding role.

Obviously he doesn’t have the passing range of Xhaka but we just need Torreira to protect the defence, do the dirty work and give the ball to an astute passer like Guendouzi, Ceballos or Willock to get us moving forward. I think our midfield would be so much more dynamic with Torreira at the base and two of Guendouzi, Ceballos or Willock just in front of him.

Attack: Pepe, Saka, Aubameyang

Lacazette remains out with an ankle injury and isn’t due back until October but thankfully Aubameyang came through the Frankfurt game unscathed so he’ll continue up front.

Emery went with a diamond at Watford to accommodate Ozil and he actually did pretty well despite the poor result. However, I don’t think that system gets the best out of these players and would rather see Arsenal go with a 4-3-3.

That would allow Pepe to play out on the wing while I would love to see Saka keep his place after his superb performance against Frankfurt. Some are concerned about his age but Saka did more against Frankfurt than Pepe, Ozil or Nelson have done all season so he deserves to start against Villa.

This is the starting eleven I hope we’ll see from Arsenal:

football formations

Emery will probably go with Ozil and play something close to a diamond with Pepe and Auba up front together, which may work at home to Villa, but I think we look more balanced in attack with two wingers supplying Auba.

Anyway, whoever the boss goes with, let’s pray for three points as Arsenal badly need to get back to winning ways in the league.

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