Following a spell on the sidelines, the predicted Arsenal team to face Aston Villa could see Takehiro Tomiyasu return to the fold.
However, the purple patch was a good one while it lasted, with the positive results putting them in pole position to land fourth spot. They defeated Wolves twice, as well as Brentford, Watford and Leicester City.
Arsenal will be keen on getting back to winning ways against Aston Villa. Mikel Arteta mentioned the possibility of a return for an important asset ahead of the game.
“There is a chance [of Tomiyasu playing], but we don’t know. Let’s see today. He had a recurring injury around the same place. After that you have to be very cautious,” the manager said.
Tomiyasu has been out of league action since the start of January and had hit the ground running following his summer arrival from Bologna. Emile Smith Rowe, who recently came back from an injury of his own could once again feature too.
“He was fine again. He had a little issue before the game but he’s been fine the last two days so hopefully he can have some consistency,” Arteta added.
Last time out – Arsenal 0-2 Liverpool
Aaron Ramsdale started in net. The centre-back positions were filled by Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes.
Cedric Soares started at right-back, with Kieran Tierney on the opposite flank.
The two holding-midfielders were Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka.
Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Martinelli started in behind Alexandre Lacazette up front. The Frenchman has scored just three goals since October, but has been a useful provider, with seven assists in that time.
Predicted Arsenal team against Aston Villa
Arteta will likely stick with a similar team given the good run Arsenal have been on despite the midweek defeat.
Ramsdale will again start in net despite coming in for criticism for each of Liverpool’s goals. Tomiyasu could finally return at right-back, with Tierney likely to continue at left-back.
The usual centre-back pairing of White and Gabriel should remain in place.
Xhaka and Partey – the latter of which scored in the return fixture – could play again in holding midfield.
Saka, Odegaard and Martinelli are likely to play in behind the striker. Smith Rowe could once again be utilised from the bench, as he has done since his injury return. Nicolas Pepe could play a role off the bench in place of Saka, though the chances of him starting are slim.
Lacazette should start up front, and he will be keen on getting back amongst the goals. Eddie Nketiah will be waiting in the wings if required from the bench.
Predicted Arsenal XI: Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Lacazette
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