Friday night football kicks off matchday nine ties in the English Premier League, with Aston Villa visiting Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
In 12th and 13th place, respectively, the two teams enter the game separated by only one place and one point. With a win in Friday’s match, they will both be looking to climb the table.
Last time out, Arsenal drew 2-2 with Crystal Palace thanks to a last-second Alexandre Lacazette equaliser, while Aston Villa were the victims of late heroics in their 3-2 loss to Wolves.
The big news for the hosts is that Bukayo Saka will be available for this match after being forced off against Crystal Palace. Though, it is unclear whether Mikel Arteta will start him at the Emirates.
In other news, Granit Xhaka is still out for a while, which is Arteta’s only real injury concern.
Unfortunately, the forward positions for Aston Villa are currently suffering from an injury crisis. Trezeguet is still recovering from a knee injury, while Keinan Davis, Leon Bailey, and Bertrand Traore are all questionable to play.
But, in better news, Morgan Sanson came off the bench against Wolves and could be reintroduced to the starting lineup this time around as Dean Smith shuffles his lineup.
These two English footballing institutions first met in 1904 and have played each other just over 200 times since then. Prior to 2020, Arsenal had won seven consecutive games against Villa. However, their fortunes have changed in recent years.
Villa has won each of the last three meetings, the most recent victory coming in February 2021, when Ollie Watkins scored the game’s only goal.
Both of these teams had significant squad rebuilds over the summer, resulting in some disjointed performances to begin the season.
Although Arsenal looked like they were turning a corner last month, two disappointing draws in recent weeks have curtailed their momentum. From antecedents, it is uncertain if they have enough to get back to winning ways on Monday, either.
The Villans have two good strikers who will likely cause the Gunners serious problems and despite recent shakiness, they remain solid at the back too with former Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez doing a fantastic job in between the sticks. He may have something to say about how the game ends.