ARGENTINA

Arsenal predicted XI vs Aston Villa as Martinelli and Havertz miss out and Zinchenko returns

Tbfantasy takes a look at how the Gunners could line up in their Premier League clash against Unai Emery’s side at Villa Park

What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? There is almost an inevitability to Arsenal winning football matches at the moment, particularly late on. But Aston Villa’s run of 14 consecutive Premier League home wins means that something will have to give.

“Tactically they are really well set up,” Mikel Arteta said when asked what makes his opposition this weekend so good at Villa Park. “They do really brave things, they play from the back, they attract you there, they have players between the lines that can really hurt you, they have players in open spaces that are constantly threatening you. Not only that, the spirit that they’ve created, the atmosphere, the intensity and the belief they have at the moment that they can go and beat anybody.”

It’s perhaps the toughest challenge that Arsenal face this season and getting his starting XI right will be crucial for Arteta. Here football.london takes a look at how the Gunners could set up.

Fabrizio Romano has provided an update on the future of Arsenal target Victor Osimhen.

Arsenal have been linked with a move for Victor Osimhen. Sporting director Edu is believed to have already held talks with Napoli over the prospect of making a deal to secure the striker’s services.

Of course, the Serie A outfit are reluctant to part with the player. The Nigerian striker is a talismanic figure for Napoli, having fired them to a league title triumph last season. The club have previously suggested that there is a £150 million price tag on the forward.

However, as things stand, Osimhen’s current contract with the club is set to expire in just over 18 months. Time is running out for the Naples-based outfit to agree new terms with the 24-year-old before his market value starts falling rapidly by virtue of him approaching free agent status.

Fabrizio Romano has his say on Victor Osimhen situation

According to transfer journalist Fabrizio Romano, Napoli are still desperate to convince Osimhen to commit his future to the club. However, they have been frustrated in their efforts to sway the player so far.

Writing in his Daily Briefing, the reporter said, “despite what Napoli are saying about Victor Osimhen and a new contract, I’m not sure they are that close to signing a new deal. Napoli president De Laurentiis has shown many times that he likes to use the media also to put some pressure, so it’s also normal.”

“Napoli are trying, Napoli are trying with the best proposal in their history to Osimhen – it’s a higher salary than players like Cavani, Higuain and many others had in the recent years, so it’s a really big, big contract. But from what I’m hearing at the moment, there is still no full agreement in place with Osimhen.”

Napoli are pushing, Napoli are insisting, Napoli also improved their proposal, so they’re waiting for him. De Laurentiis is optimistic, but from what I’m hearing, it’s still not a done deal.”

“In any case, I think the opportunity for Osimhen to leave in summer 2024 remains really, really concrete. As I always mention, I don’t see a January exit for the player, but I think the most likely solution is going to be a summer move and I’m not so sure that he’s going to sign a new deal.”

What this update means for Arsenal

If Arsenal are serious about pushing for the player’s signature, then this news will be music to Mikel Arteta’s ears. However, it will have no bearing on the Gunners’ business in the upcoming January transfer window.

The north London club are heading into the winter market with a very limited budget a their disposal. What’s more, there is a more pressing need to invest in other parts of the pitch. Recent injury setbacks have left Arsenal short of options at the back. Sourcing defensive reinforcements in January has to now be a priority for Arsenal.