Monday, August 3
Sep 22, 2019 at 4.30pm UK
Aston Villa
Pepe (59' pen.), Chambers (81'), Aubameyang (84')
Maitland-Niles (41')
FT(HT: 0-1)
McGinn (20'), Wesley (60')

How Arsenal could line up against Aston Villa

:Headline: How Arsenal could line up against Aston Villa: ID:372138: from db_amp
Sports Mole looks at how Arsenal could line up for Sunday's Premier League clash with Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal return to domestic action against Aston Villa on Sunday after a morale-boosting 3-0 win against Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday night.

The Gunners have not won any of their last three Premier League games, drawing 2-2 with Watford last time out despite being 2-0 up at half time.

Arsenal boss Unai Emery finds himself under pressure as fans begin to voice their growing disgruntlement with the quality of football on display, coupled with last season's failure to secure Champions League football on two fronts.

Here, Sports Mole looks at how the Gunners could line up for Sunday's showdown.

Out:Alexandre Lacazette (ankle), Hector Bellerin (knee), Kieran Tierney (groin)
Doubt: Sead Kolasinac (unknown), Rob Holding (fitness), Kostas Mavropanos (groin)

> Click here for Arsenal's full injury and suspension list ahead of this match.

With a handful of league games played, Emery's personnel preferences are starting to become clearer.

Bernd Leno is the Spaniard's first-choice shot-stopper at present and will certainly start on Sunday, but Emiliano Martinez will hope to push the German for his place as the season goes on with his performances in cup competitions.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos's exclusion from the party that travelled to Frankfurt in order to rest him hints at a likely start against Villa, with Emery seeming to favour a partnership of the Greece international and David Luiz ahead of Calum Chambers.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles is likely to slot back in at right-back, and while Sead Kolasinac is a minor doubt after being replaced with 10 minutes left in Germany, Emery has suggested that he will be fit to play.

Granit Xhaka is a firm favourite of Emery's and will almost certainly take his usual place in a deeper midfield role, while Mesut Ozil was also rested for the Europa League game and is likely to start in an attacking midfield role ahead of him.

In the absence of Alexandre Lacazette, free-scoring Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will play as a central striker, and record signing Nicolas Pepe is also likely to start in attack.

The only real question marks lie over the remaining two positions in midfield, which will determine the system utilised. While the impressive performances of Joe Willock and Bukayo Saka against Frankfurt gives them a good claim to start, their exertions in midweek may see them start on the bench.

Fellow young stars Reiss Nelson and Gabriel Martinelli would have been obvious candidates to start out wide against Watford following Lacazette's injury, with Aubameyang moving to a central role, but Emery instead opted for a narrow midfield diamond, and he may persist with the system against Villa, much to fans' exasperation.

The Spaniard appears to have lost faith in Lucas Torreira, preferring to use him as a box-to-box midfielder rather than as a deeper, ball-winning player and it is therefore possible he will select Dani Ceballos and Matteo Guendouzi on the sides of the diamond in an unchanged team.

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