Arsenal

Arsenal line-ups vs Aston Villa as Zinchenko returns, Ramsdale decision and Havertz continues

TBFANTASY writers offer their assistance to Mikel Arteta over the Arsenal starting line-up for Saturday afternoon’s Premier League clash with Aston Villa.

Arsenal look to make a title statement in the Premier League with their clash with Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon after they witnessed Unai Emery’s side give them a major boost when they beat Manchester City in midweek. The Gunners relied on a late goal at Luton themselves to help in opening a six-point buffer to the champions.

However, the consistency of Liverpool has meant that the Reds have become the closest challengers and will be looking to take advantage of any potential slip-up from the Gunners on the road. Mikel Arteta will be reliant upon his side to repeat their efforts of last season.

Two more late goals handed Arsenal a win at Villa Park which has not been repeated by any side since Emi Martinez’s own goal and Gabriel Martinelli secured all three points earlier this year. Villa themselves can go within a point of Arsenal with a win as they chase Champions League qualification.

Tom Canton – Arsenal Writer

The midweek game allowed Mikel Arteta to make some changes from the side that beat Wolves the weekend before and yet I find myself not tempted to bring back in the likes of Jakub Kiwior or Leandro Trossard who have both started at least once in the last two games. Instead, Kai Havertz has done enough to convince me he should be starting.

His third goal in three starts has cemented both his form and place in the starting eleven and his presence is sure to be vital as Arsenal try to combat the Villa midfield. Manchester City were punished for their makeshift selection but with Declan Rice their opponent this week they face a very different proposition.

Martin Odegaard’s assist proved pivotal at Luton and he will hope to serve the usual front three of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus. The latter of whom sent a message to his critics again and will look to repeat that this weekend.

In defence is the return of Oleksandr Zinchenko. His substitution in midweek was a huge benefit to regaining control of the game and helping to progress the ball into dangerous areas and his midfield presence will again help turn the table on the Villa middle third.

Ben White, William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes will have a challenge keeping Ollie Watkins and in-form Leon Bailly in check. David Raya meanwhile continues in goal despite the errors and is in need of a big display to quell the rising doubts.

Canton’s Arsenal XI vs Aston Villa: Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Rice, Havertz, Odegaard; Saka, Jesus, Martinelli.

Kaya Kaynak – Chief Arsenal Writer

I think despite his errors at Luton you have to stick with David Raya. Arsenal need cool heads on their trip to Aston Villa and the Spaniard offers that far more than Aaron Ramsdale.

Much of the back four picks itself with Takehiro Tomiyasu out. I wasn’t massively impressed by Jakub Kiwior in midweek, so I’m bringing Alex Zinchenko in as my only change to the back four.

think you can put Declan Rice in the middle as a distributor with Martin Odegaard operating in his new deeper role alongside him. I also just don’t see how you can drop Kai Havertz right now, even if the comfort blanket of Jorginho is a tempting option.
In the front three, I think you have to go for all the sprinters up against Villa’s high line.

That means Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli. It’s harsh on Leandro Trossard, but I think Arsenal have the skillset to really tear Unai Emery’s men apart if they’re given license.

Kaynak’s Arsenal XI vs Aston Villa – Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Rice, Odegaard, Havertz; Saka, Jesus, Martinelli.

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