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Premier League | Gameweek 16
Dec 9, 2023 at 5.30pm UK
Villa Park
AL
Aston Villa
1 - 0
Arsenal
McGinn (7')
Digne (53'), Luiz (62'), McGinn (73'), Carlos (88')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Zinchenko (28'), Rice (77')

Preview: Aston Villa vs. Arsenal - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Aston Villa vs. Arsenal - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between Aston Villa and Arsenal, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Taking on the most recent team to conquer them at Villa Park in the Premier League, Aston Villa host table-topping Arsenal in Saturday's mouthwatering West Midlands affair.

Both clubs marched to dramatic one-goal successes in midweek, as Unai Emery's crop bested Manchester City 1-0, while the Gunners produced one of their trademark late comebacks in a pulsating 4-3 beating of Luton Town.


Match preview

Two months ago, Arsenal overcame a Rodri-less City 1-0 thanks to a deflected second-half winner, and ex-Gunners head coach Emery appeared to take several leaves out of the Gunners' book when the treble winners stepped foot onto the Villa Park turf on Wednesday evening.

Emery had gone 13 managerial meetings without getting one over Pep Guardiola, but the latter's side were dominated in all facets of the game - besides the possession counter - and the hosts would not be left to rue a plethora of missed chances, as Bailey's strike took a significant nick off of Ruben Dias and nestled into the net.

Besides two quickfire chances for Erling Haaland, who was denied well by another erstwhile Arsenal man in Emiliano Martinez, an off-colour Man City cut timid figures in the West Midlands and deservedly travelled home empty-handed, as Emery's vivacious Villa revelled in a magnificent 14th Premier League home win in a row.

A 15th straight success this season would mark a new overall club record for the Lions, who have leapfrogged City into third place in the table and are threatening to upset the title apple cart, also possessing just a two-point disadvantage to Liverpool and a four-point gap to upcoming foes Arsenal.

As unbridled bedlam erupted at Villa Park, it was easy to overlook the significance of Wednesday's victory defensively, as Emery's side ended a 10-game run without a clean sheet against the mediocre champions, but a sterner test surely awaits on Saturday.

Not one Premier League team has come away from Luton's humble Kenilworth Road proudly claiming to have dominated the Hatters, and a permeable Arsenal felt the full force of a Rob Edwards team with nothing to lose on Tuesday, conceding three to their newly-promoted visitors.

David Raya did not cover himself in glory for two of those efforts, but the Spaniard's blushes were spared by Gabriel Martinelli, Gabriel Jesus, the revitalised Kai Havertz and Declan Rice, whose last-gasp header seven minutes into stoppage time found the bottom corner in front of the exultant travelling fans.

Already synonymous with exhilarating injury-time comebacks, Arsenal's inspiring seven-goal success ensured that the Gunners would maintain their two-point advantage over Liverpool at the top of the standings, while also stretching their winning sequence in all tournaments to six matches.

However, with Liverpool in action at 12.30pm versus Crystal Palace, the Gunners could be bumped down to the silver medal position by the time the first whistle blows at Villa Park, where no Premier League team has overcome the Lions since Mikel Arteta's men themselves.

On that fateful day in February, Arsenal produced one of their quintessential turnarounds to prevail 4-2 - thanks in no small part to a bizarre own goal from Martinez - and the Gunners have now overcome their hosts in each of their last four contests as they endeavour to finally spoil the Villa Park party.

Aston Villa Premier League form:


Aston Villa form (all competitions):


Arsenal Premier League form:


Arsenal form (all competitions):


Team News

After terrorising the beleaguered Citizens backline non-stop, Bailey's exertions caught up to him as he trudged off the field looking a little bit worse for wear, and it remains to be seen if the Jamaica international is risked from the first whistle versus the league leaders.

Thankfully for Emery, the Spaniard can call upon a fearsome like-for-like replacement in Moussa Diaby - a former transfer target of Arsenal's - but Bertrand Traore (muscle), Emiliano Buendia (knee) and Tyrone Mings (knee) will not be available for Saturday.

Alongside Diaby, Matty Cash was also overlooked for a place in the starting XI versus Man City, and Emery should see no need to alter his defensive formula after keeping the champions at arm's length in midweek.

The prospect of Diaby and/or Bailey running rings around the Arsenal backline has already led to some concern among Gooners, especially with the rejuvenated Takehiro Tomiyasu confirmed to be out for "a while" with the calf injury he sustained against Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend.

Tomiyasu joins Emile Smith Rowe (knee), Fabio Vieira (groin), Thomas Partey (thigh) and Jurrien Timber (knee) in the infirmary, allowing Ben White to stake his claim for regular starts once more, and the Gunners have also been hit with a significant suspension blow.

Indeed, Arteta picked up his third yellow card of the season in the victory over Luton - allegedly for "excessively celebrating" Rice's injury-time winner - so the Gunners boss will not be on the touchline at Villa Park this weekend; Albert Stuivenberg will assume managerial duties on a temporary basis.


Aston Villa possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Konsa, Carlos, Torres, Digne; Diaby, Luiz, Kamara, McGinn; Tielemans; Watkins

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Odegaard, Rice, Havertz; Saka, Jesus, Martinelli


We say: Aston Villa 2-2 Arsenal

Two gifts from Martinez denied Villa a slice of the spoils versus Arsenal in February, but the Lions have been near-unbreakable at home since and should not be handing out any festive presents to Emery's former employers, whose defensive display versus Luton left a lot to be desired.

Similarly, two Raya blunders made Arsenal's evening far nervier than it should have been, and while the time is nigh for Villa to end their losing streak versus the Arteta-less Gunners, a 15th successive Premier League home win may elude them in an entertaining stalemate.


For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.


Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5:data


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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool27196264253963
2Manchester CityMan City26185359263359
3Arsenal26184462233958
4Aston Villa27174659372255
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs26155655391650
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd26142103636044
7West Ham UnitedWest Ham2712694347-442
8Newcastle UnitedNewcastle271241157451240
9Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2710984944539
10Wolverhampton WanderersWolves27115114043-338
11Chelsea26106104443136
12Fulham27105123942-335
13Bournemouth2577113347-1428
14Crystal Palace2777133247-1528
15Brentford2775153950-1126
16Everton2787122937-825
17Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest2766153449-1524
18Luton TownLuton2655163754-1720
19Burnley2634192558-3313
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd2634192266-4413
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