Arsenal are set to host Aston Villa as Unai Emery might make few changes including giving Bukayo Saka his first Premier League start.
Arsenal will look to bounce back from their disappointing 2-2 draw away to Watford last weekend. Unai Emery will eye all three points when Aston Villa come visiting the Emirates. The manager might look to make a few changes from the team that started in the Europa League win over Eintracht Frankfurt during midweek.
The team to start against Aston Villa might include returns for defender Sokratis, midfielder Matteo Guendouzi and Mesut Ozil. On the injury front, there is good news regarding Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney, who stepped up their recovery with the U-23 side. However, the full-back duo are still short of match fitness, meaning Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Sead Kolasinac will play.
Our #ARSAVL team news update…
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) September 21, 2019
On the attacking front, Bukayo Saka, who impressed against Frankfurt with a goal and two assists might be handed his first Premier League start by Emery. Due to the injury sustained by Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has moved into the central role, and Reiss Nelson has so far been unconvincing on the left-wing. Saka could take this opportunity if given a chance.
Ozil’s absence during midweek raised a few questions regarding the German with the Aston Villa game in context. The Watford game was Ozil’s first of the season. Emery hinted at a role against Aston Villa for Ozil and cited the same as the reason for his absence.
During the midweek presser, Emery said: “Because we are going to play another match on Sunday. He played on Sunday now my focus is on tomorrow, and to decide my first XI, I decided who are the best players for tomorrow and also decided the players, not in the squad, who are Sokratis and Mesut.”
Bernd Leno will replace Emiliano Martinez in goal. Maitland-Niles will start at right-back, while Kolasinac takes on the left-back berth. David Luiz will retain his place in the side at centre-half, with Sokratis likely to replace Shkodran Mustafi to be the Brazilian’s partner.
Emery will continue to deploy a two-man midfield, with Granit Xhaka and Guendouzi occupying the positions available. It could send Lucas Torreira back to the bench despite an industrious performance against Frankfurt in midweek. Dani Ceballos could be on the bench as well, as Ozil will likely start in the No.10 role.
Emery has plenty of options in attack, especially after Saka’s impressive game against Frankfurt. Since Lacazette’s injury, Emery chose Nelson on the left-wing, but Saka could be handed his first Premier League start against Villa. Summer recruit Nicolas Pepe is likely to start on the right side with Aubameyang leading the line.
Predicted Arsenal XI: Leno; Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Luiz, Kolasinac; Guendouzi, Xhaka; Pepe, Ozil, Saka; Aubameyang