Arsenal v Aston Villa Confirmed Team News & Predicted Line-up

Arsenal will play host to Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium this evening as we look to continue our 100% record so far this term.

The Gunners have already put Crystal Palace, Leicester, Bournemouth and Fulham to the sword so far this season, with the latter seeing us overturn a 1-0 deficit to clinch all three points despite some forced changes to our side.

We were forced to play without both Thomas Partey and Oleksandr Zinchenko at the weekend, and unfortunately neither is expected to be returning to the team today according to manager Mikel Arteta.

During yesterday’s pre-match press conference, he was asked about the pair’s possible involvement, to which he told Arsenal Media: “I don’t think so. We still have to make another scan, especially on Thomas, to see the length but I don’t think they will be available. It is a similar area [to the one that kept Partey out last season], but hopefully not as bad.”

It was also reported yesterday that Mo Elneny will also miss the coming weeks or months depending on the results of his scan, as reported by The Athletic originally, but the boss wasn’t asked to comment on his injury, which will likely mean Sambi Lokonga will make his first start of the season.

Predicted Arsenal XI:

White Saliba Gabriel Tierney
Lokonga Odegaard Xhaka
Saka Jesus Martinelli

As much as I want to see Emile Smith Rowe in action, I feel like both Martinelli and Martin Odegaard have been too important for us thus far, and unless either is deemed to be in need of a rest, I don’t expect ESR to come in today.

Tomiyasu is another who could come into the side, either in place of one of White or Saliba or possibly even ahead of Lokonga, which could see us play five at the back depending on the manager’s thinking.

Do you think any of our regular starting eleven could be rested this evening? Who do you most want to see come into the side tonight?


Mikel Arteta talks about Odegaard, Nketiah and bloody injuries ahead of Aston Villa game.

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  1. I would leave the rotation until the Europa Cup. When that starts up the schedule means there will be plenty of games for everyone.

    The main crux of debate is the defensive midfielder.

    Zinchenko could play there or even Ben White if Tomi returns.

    1. Although no rotation is an option, it is a risky one with utd on the weekend and then many weeks of back to back double games.

      In regards Zinc or white, one might not be fit and is not naturally a dm and the other has not played in DM for us before so it is a big risk. If it backfires, who takes the blame? (Prob Granit :D) Its easy to just say lets do that…but the reality is not so simple. I would rather move Lok into the role temporarily and see how he has progressed.

      Without White at the back, we might also lose his passing and composure of building from the back…whether it be from CB or RB.

    2. Zinchenko is likely out due to injury so I’m expecting either Lakonga or White will play alongside Xhaka.

  2. I will rather put Xhaka in DM and Smith Rowe in 8 than have Lokonga in DM. Maybe when we are sure of victory, Xhaka can move forward to continue to preserve Rowe and Sambi can then be brought on.

    We hope they bring in a solid CM/DM. Thankfully, the injuries came early enough to make adequate plans.

    1. I would just worry about xhaka becoming exposed and we all know how well that might turn out in the media. We do not want to derail a current possitive thing.

      However I expect us to control possession against villa so feel that Lokonga could certainly do the job if he can hit the heights of what we have seen in bits and pieces. He was supposedly being trained as DM before so I think he might be one of the better options.

  3. One and a half days left until the transfer window closes so if anyone is coming in it had better be quick!

  4. I would play White in DM position he’s done the job with previous clubs and bring Tommy back in at right back!

    1. I wouldnt be against this, however it is risky as he has not played there before for us…. and we might not have the same composure and passing range without him at the back somewhere.

      I still think a natural replacement such as Sambi is logical and repays his efforts. Give him the chance to prove he can do it in a game that we should control possession .

  5. I expect Arteta to bring in Lokonga for Elneny, and to play Xhaka in a deeper role beside him.With Zinchenko missing, Tierney can play in a more conventional LB role and bomb up and down the flank.Personally, I would switch Saka and Martinelli as the former is becoming too predictable as an inverted RW.There is a very good case for starting Nketiah in place of Saka but Arteta tends to err on the side of caution and I suspect he will remain”loyal” to the man in possession.Lokonga is a more talented attacking midfielder than Elneny, but ,against Villa he will have to focus on his defensive duties and guard against becoming complacent in possession. Unfortunately, he tends to lose concentration from time to time and in a DM role this can prove fatal as was the case against Notts Forrest last season.In any event, Villa will not be a push over and I expect them to battle hard throughout the game.

  6. The Fulham result is starting to look good after they beat Brighton last night.

    Brighton are a good side, for Fulham to beat them even at home shows that they’re also a good side in the PL.

    2-0 for us with 72% possession is starting to look better and better.

    But I don’t want to jinx anything. Villa may have been poor so far but they will be fired up – this would be a bad one to lose (or even to draw).

  7. Martinelli & KT both like to use the flanks so won’t be effective. It’s either Zinchenko & Martinelli or KT & smithrowe to create the proper overload. So we av come right back to the partey injury issue that derailed our top 4 hopes? The viera signing was for what purpose? Why sign a surplus to requirements and leave out a pressing issues (partey back up). I pity the fan based who will be ridiculed once the effect of such poor management of limited funds start occuring

  8. Versatility is a trait that is hugely unappreciated in football. Over the years, footballers have focussed more on their skills to make them a better player in their position but very few modern day footballers are comfortable playing different positions and it is that skill in particular – the art of being able to play different positions in a competent and competitive manner, is what makes makes them a complete team player. Players like Philip Lahm, Wayne Rooney, David Alaba, Thomas Muller etc. are such that they can adapt and play different positions across two areas of the pitch and do it remarkably well!

    My point is this, are some of these young Arsenal stars capable of doing that? And is Mikel and the coaching staff doing enough to be able to coach, train and given them enough playing time in other positions so they grow into roles where they can adapt and be competitive, should there be a necessity.

    I think Ben White has all the capabilities to become a competent DM – he has an engine on him, is not fazed, will have protection behind in Saliba and Gabriel and has good vision. I think Cedric is competent in playing both wing back positions and Tomiyasu is a more than capable centre back given his physical attributes. If we are unable to find a solid DM to add depth to our squad, I would consider retaining Bellerin (as I believe AMN is close to going out on loan to Southampton who have an option to make the deal permanent) to remain as a back up to Tomiyasu.

    I understand that the club cannot spend much (even if they wanted to) to ensure they are well within the FFP rules. It is such a shame that some of the players needed clearing just didn’t fetch the sort of fees the club would’ve liked. That is a story for another day but I can see the progress the club is making, their vision and how they are managing the contracts for their players.

    I also feel some players have been hard done by – for example I really do feel for AMN – never been given a run of games to show what he is truly worth, he has basically played every position on the pitch barring GK,CB and ST and has always put in a shift – he is only 24 and has huge potential, why is he not being considered as one of our box to box midfielders that is the back up to Partey? The current system we play, we don’t really have a DM – so Elneny’s position when he plays as a DM isn’t comparable to what Partey does for us. We haven’t yet played the top 6 and I would be hugely surprised if we don’t have a game plan for a defensive minded player in midfield and that is the only area that worries me. I also feel for Lokonga, I think he has a lot of talent and is a deep lying playmaker who plays Xhaka’s role. Viera to me is the under study to Odegaard. So essentially Elneny is the outlier in that he plays as a defensive midfielder – but he is a squad player, so we’re missing a starting DM. I hope we can find someone in the next year. That could mean changing how are midfield trio sits – i.e. losing Xhaka for a DM but that should be our goal to ensure we remain compact and are not bullied. Other such players who haven’t been given enough chances to grow and mature are the likes of Nketiah and Lokonga. They need time and the backing.

    For now, if Partey and Zinchenko are unfit, this would be my team
    Tomiyasu,Saliba, Gabriel, Tierney
    White (DM)
    Xhaka (CM) Odegaard (AM)
    Saka, Martinelli

    We’re playing a team that is struggling today, at home – this should be a game we win!

  9. If arteta doesnt trust lokonga to play dm for today match, so it is obviuos we need to go for a new dm in the last hours of the transfer window

  10. Bench looks a bit weak though.

    Depth might be iur issue this season. It has just started and we experiencing problems already.

    The clock is ticking

    1. “I Know A Lot” lol
      But do you know… that I know you are Mambo, so can you please accept your ban and try coming back after I’ve cooled down, okay?

      1. Hi Pat, lol I know hardware ban or ip? Maybe both.

        Look, ill try better, I apologize for the actions I took.

        If I could get my original account back it would be appreciated as I cant keep up with these fake email accounts. Although I know you dont owe me that.

        even if banned Ill still come here everyday to read articles and comments as I have done for the last 10 years.

  11. I don’t know how do people still think Arteta is going to experiment with his line up by playing White as DM, Lokonga is the next in line after Elneny to play the CDM and will have Xhaka playing close to him so the midfield will be Xhaka B2B – Martin AM – Lokonga DM. Hope that we can win the midfield battle, i don’t see losing the battle vs Kamara, J ramsey and Mcginn. the only troublesome player in the midfield will be Coutinho.

  12. If Vierira doesn;t play in a game like this – and in an injury situation like this – then I’ll be left wondering when he will play – and why £34m was spent on him when there seem to be other needs.

    I’d also like to see Marquinhos start with Saka on the bench in case he doesn’t make an impact.

    I expect Villa will play with fire in their bellies and they may well park the bus and make life frustrating, but they shouldn’t have enough to get anything out of this game so giving these guys a chance while it’s kinda forced seems sensible.

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