Arsenal vs Aston Villa: Preview, Team News, Likely Line-Ups & Predicted Score
Arsenal welcome Aston Villa to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Here’s a preview including team news, likely line-ups and predicted score for the game
Arsenal get the new season under way as they welcome Aston Villa to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
It’s been a hugely frustrating summer to be a Gunners fan with the club yet to make any serious additions to the squad, despite claims that boss Arsene Wenger has a hefty transfer kitty to play with this summer.
Wenger is under huge pressure to buy before the window closes after missing out on several key names, and with injuries piling up before a ball has even been kicked, the north Londoners go into the game with a thread-bare squad to choose from.
Despite 17 players leaving the Emirates this summer, Yaya Sanogo is the only notable signing so Wenger will have practically the same squad to choose from that clinched fourth place with a 1-0 win away at Newcastle on the final day of last season.
Aston Villa on the other hand have brought in several new faces with Nicklas Helenius, Antonio Luna, Aleksandar Tonev, Jores Okore, Leandro Bacuna and Jed Steer all arriving early in the summer, but undoubtedly their best peiece of business was persuading Christian Benteke to sign a new contract and commit his future to Villa Park.
Paul Lambert will be hoping for an improved campaign after narrowly avoiding relegation last season but his young squad will be a year older and have that extra experience that should stand them in good stead.
As mentioned previously, Arsenal have a number of injures to contend with. Mikel Arteta is the latest to be ruled out after picking up a thigh injury that could see him on the sidelines for six weeks.
The Spaniard joins Thomas Vermaleen, Abou Diaby, Ryo Miyaichi and Nacho Monreal on the treatment table. Per Mertesacker will captain the side in the absence of Vermaelen and Arteta, and the German will start alongside Laurent Koscielny at the back as Wenger has no other recognised centre-backs to choose from.
Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and Bacary Sagna are all expected to start despite picking up minor knocks while away on international duty. Santi Cazorla’s fitness will be assessed ahead of the game after he arrived back late from a friendly against Ecuador in midweek.
Yaya Sanogo is expected to be in the squad but will only make the bench.
Villa will be without Yacouba Sylla after the midfielder picked up an ankle injury earlier this week. The only other injury concern for Lambert if Chris Herd who’s struggling with a calf problem.
Arsenal 2-1 Aston Villa: Despite their injury problems and lack of new faces in the squad, Arsenal should still have too much quality for Villa.
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