Arsenal will look to consolidate their position in the Premier League top four when they play Aston Villa on Saturday at 12.30pm (UK time).
Mikel Arteta has fired the Gunners into the Champions League places and they look good value for their position, currently sitting fourth with two games in hand on fifth-placed Manchester United. For the Villans, Steven Gerrard has got them up in ninth and tentatively gazing up. The Midlanders remain 12 points below Tottenham in seventh, so if they want to make a late push for Europe, they know they can’t afford to watch points drop by the wayside.
Aston Villa vs Arsenal betting tips from Squawka Bet
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Aston Villa team news vs Arsenal: Digne a doubt
It was an afternoon of casualty chaos at the London Stadium last time out against West Ham as Lucas Digne, Douglas Luiz and Calum Chambers all sustained injuries, with the former coming off after just 10 minutes to be replaced by Ashley Young, and is now considered a “major doubt” for this showdown. Luiz and Chambers both picked up facial injuries and the former even required surgery, so they may be kept on ice here ahead of the international break. Marvelous Nakamba is Gerrard’s only other major absentee.
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Predicted Aston Villa XI vs Arsenal:
- Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Young; McGinn, Ramsey, Buendia; Coutinho, Ings, Watkins. (4-3-3)
Arsenal team news vs Aston Villa: Tomiyasu likely to miss out
Takehiro Tomiyasu is nearing a return to full fitness but the fact he was recently omitted from Japan’s squad for March’s World Cup qualifiers may suggest this game has come too soon, and Arteta will give him the international break to fully recover. Other than that, it’s a clean bill of health for the Spaniard.
It’s likely to be a hard-fought battle at Villa Park between two very technical teams, with Philippe Coutinho offering bundles of creative inspiration for the hosts, a player whom Arteta recently confirmed Arsenal looked at bringing to north London, but they ultimately went in a “different” direction to the Barcelona loanee.
“He’s one of them,” Arteta responded when asked if Coutinho is Villa’s main threat.
“The team activates a lot of things when he’s on the ball and in dangerous areas. He has contributed a lot in their attacking phase so obviously it’s something we have to bear in mind.
“His ability to create goals and chances and unlock spaces when they don’t exist. That’s a quality that he had and he did consistently when he was with Liverpool something he did consistently when he was at Liverpool.
“We looked at many different players with qualities that he had and at the end we went for a different option.”
Predicted Arsenal XI vs Aston Villa:
- Ramsdale; Cedric, White, Gabriel, Tierney; Xhaka, Partey; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Lacazette. (4-2-3-1)