Aston Villa welcomes Arsenal to Villa Park for Saturday’s early Premier League kickoff, the Gunners will try to reclaim their top-four position.
Last weekend, Steven Gerrard’s side lost 2-1 to West Ham United, while Arsenal lost 2-0 to Liverpool in midweek.
Last Sunday at the London Stadium, it was an emotional occasion, but there was little joy for Aston Villa, as top-four chasing West Ham broke the Lions’ three-game winning streak with a 2-1 victory on their own grounds.
Andriy Yarmolenko of Ukraine brought a few tears to the eyes when he scored clinically in the 70th minute, before Pablo Fornals appeared to seal the victory with eight minutes remaining, though Jacob Ramsey scored a stunning late consolation to keep things intriguing.
However, Villa’s three-game winning streak, which included three clean sheets, has helped Gerrard’s side secure their place in the top half of the Premier League table, with the Lions currently lying in ninth place.
Gerrard’s crop may have scored four unanswered goals past Southampton in their last game at Villa Park, but the West Midlands side has struggled at home, having gone four games without a win until the Saints came a visit.
Mikel Arteta is dissatisfied with Arsenal’s lack of recovery time for the early flight. Villa have acquired a predilection for midday kickoffs, winning each of their last four 12:30pm Saturday games.
Left-back for Villa Lucas Digne only lasted 10 minutes against West Ham before being substituted due to a muscle problem, and he has been ruled out of this match, along with Kortney Hause, who has a stomach problem.
After the win over West Ham, both Douglas Luiz and ex-Gunner Calum Chambers left the pitch with facial injuries, the former requiring surgery, and Gerrard may not be willing to risk either guy right away.
On the left side, Ashley Young is expected to stand in for Digne, but with Marvelous Nakamba still out, Gerrard may be forced to rely on Morgan Sanson to cover the vacuum in the engine room.
Meanwhile, Arsenal’s loss to Liverpool did not raise any new concerns, with Takehiro Tomiyasu (calf) remains a doubt after being ruled out of Japan’s World Cup qualifiers in March.
Given the short turnaround, Arteta will almost probably make changes, with Gabriel Martinelli – who ran himself into the ground on Wednesday night – possibly being replaced by Emile Smith Rowe.
Nicolas Pepe, Eddie Nketiah, and Albert Sambi Lokonga are all waiting for their chance, but Arteta may insist on another 90 minutes from the most of his big-hitters before the international break.
Aston Villa has beaten Arsenal in their last two Premier League home games. Between 1975 and 1979, they had the most consecutive victories at home versus the Gunners in league competition (4).
Arsenal has won 12 Premier League away games against Aston Villa, with only West Ham (13) winning more in the competition.
Aston Villa has kept a clean sheet in each of their previous five Premier League triumphs, with the Villans failing to win any of their last eight games while surrendering at least once (D2 L6).
Aston Villa won their last Premier League home game 4-0 against Southampton in January 2021, although they haven’t won back-to-back league games at Villa Park since January 2021.
Arsenal has won four of their past eight Premier League away games after winning just two of their previous eight (D1 L5). Since May 2015, the Gunners haven’t won five consecutive league games on the road.
Philippe Coutinho of Aston Villa has scored more Premier League goals against Arsenal (4) than any other team, despite the fact that three of his four goals have come at the Emirates Stadium.
Aston Villa 2-2 Arsenal
While Villa will look to exploit Arsenal’s shaky legs and undermine their confidence, a slew of new injury concerns, particularly for lynchpin Luiz, isn’t ideal for the hosts.
The Gunners haven’t had much luck at Villa Park in recent years, but Villa are still lacking in consistency under Gerrard, and we believe Arteta’s team has what it takes to win a tight match and keep their hold on fourth place.