Arsenal vs Aston Villa: Preview and Prediction

Arsenal will aim to maintain their place at the top of the Premier League table as they take on Aston Villa at the Emirates.

Arsenal had a compelling few days juggling their Premier League and UEFA Champions League commitments ahead of the visit of Aston Villa. The Gunners came through as comfortable winners at the Amex, beating Brighton & Hove Albion with a 3-0 scoreline. Then they hosted Bayern Munich in an entertaining game that ended in a 2-2 draw, which leaves for an open contest at the Allianz Arena in the coming week.

Mikel Arteta would want continuity and a shift in focus back to the Premier League, as Arsenal ended last weekend on top of the title-chasing pile. Liverpool’s draw at Old Trafford meant the Gunners went top on goal difference.

However, they have a big task ahead of the coming days, starting with a home game against Aston Villa on Sunday and then going to Munich to face Thomas Tuchel’s side. These big games could redefine their season, as Arteta wants continuity, resilience, and momentum from his side.

Meanwhile, it will be a second return for Unai Emery since leaving the Arsenal job in 2019. While he has played the Gunners four times since his departure as the manager of Villarreal and Aston Villa, it will be the first time he comes taking the Villans to the Emirates as a Premier League boss.

Emery will undoubtedly hope to derail his former side’s title charge, which would, in turn, aid Villa’s chances of finishing in the top four. With Tottenham losing to Newcastle United today, Emery will want a stern response from his players to re-take the fourth spot from their rivals.

However, the task is much bigger than it seems, especially considering the leaky defence Villa is currently experiencing in all competitions. Last weekend, they were in a commanding lead against Brentford, only for the Bees to come back stunningly. But Ollie Watkins was there to salvage a point.

Team News & Tactics


Once again, Arsenal were pictured with a full squad in training, including Jurrien Timber, who may still take some time before returning to the matchday squad. Mikel Arteta did not have Gabriel Magalhaes present for training, but he insisted it is only a matter of load management with the Brazilian defender.

Hence, Arsenal are expected to go with a full-strength squad ahead of their home clash with Villa. He might look to protect Gabriel Jesus for the away leg in Munich, meaning Gabriel Martinelli might be preferred to start on the left wing, with Bukayo Saka and Kai Havertz both keeping their spots in the front three.

Oleksandr Zinchenko could return at left-back, while Arteta might make a late call to allow Ben White some rest and bring in Takehiro Tomiyasu. The former might continue at right-back for now, as the manager wants to keep the English defender fit and sharp. Meanwhile, there is a chance that Thomas Partey might start against Villa, although Jorginho seems like the best fit for a game of this magnitude.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Raya; Ben White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Odegaard, Jorginho, Rice; Saka, Havertz, Martinelli

Aston Villa

Unlike Arsenal, Aston Villa have plenty of injuries to contend with ahead of this trip to the Emirates. Boubacar Kamara and Jacob Ramsey are long-term absentees and will miss the remainder of the season. There are further problems in midfield, as key player Douglas Luiz picked up a late booking against Brentford, which rules him out of the trip to Arsenal.

Unai Emery might need an out-and-out defensive midfielder at the senior level on his side, with the Brazilian now out. However, he can hand the keys to his midfield to youngster Tim Iroegbunam and partner him with John McGinn.

Emery might opt for the experienced Youri Tielemans to slot in a deeper role rather than his customary place behind the attack. The big issue with having him is bringing Moussa Diaby, as Emery does not tend to play the Frenchman and winger Leon Bailey together in games.

The former Arsenal manager should consider that option, with Ollie Watkins set to lead the line for Aston Villa after another goalscoring display in midweek.

Probable Lineup (4-4-1-1): Martinez; Konsa, carlos, Torres, Digne; Bailey, Tielemans, McGinn, Rogers; Diaby; Watkins

Key Stats

  • Arsenal have won 1ten of their last 11 matches in the Premier League.
  • Arsenal lost twice in 2024, both coming from the side of the Premier League.
  • Arsenal scored the most headed goals in the Premier League this season with 16, while Aston Villa conceded the fewest with two.
  • Arsenal has won five and lost one of the last six Premier League games against Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium.
  • Unai Emery will manage against Arsenal for the fourth time since leaving the club in 2019.

Player to Watch


Embed from Getty Images

The Italian international’s levels have slightly dipped in the past few weeks. Is it a question of whether he can play every three days or is it just a dip in form? Mikel Arteta will want the defensive midfielder at his very best in the late season run-in and will want to see that against Aston Villa.

The absence of Douglas Luiz in the Aston Villa midfield could make Jorginho’s presence an intriguing prospect. He will now look forward to taking control of the area and dictate play from there. With many crucial games coming in, Jorginho might want to keep his place in this midfield and not lose it to someone like Thomas Partey, who continues to breathe down his neck from the bench.


Arsenal 3-1 Aston Villa

The presence of Ollie Watkins in that Aston Villa attack always presents them with a threat going forward. However, like many other players, the forward had previously struggled with Gabriel Magalhaes and William Saliba, which might be the case on Sunday.

Arsenal have been the best defensive side in the division by a mile, and Mikel Arteta will target another clean sheet. However, the quality of Villa’s attackers makes it an intriguing battle that could once see Emery’s side breach the Gunners’ backline. However, Arteta still has the advantage in terms of quality in getting the three points and sitting at the table’s summit heading out of another tough weekend.

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