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Arsenal logo
Premier League | Gameweek 33
Apr 14, 2024 at 4.30pm UK
Emirates Stadium
Aston Villa logo

0 - 2
Aston Villa

White (36'), Magalhaes (45'), Havertz (63')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Bailey (84'), Watkins (87')
Rogers (14')

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

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Premier League clash between Arsenal and Aston Villa, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Looking to move a step closer to their first English crown in two decades, Arsenal will welcome Champions League-chasing Aston Villa to the Emirates for an all-important Premier League clash on Sunday afternoon.

The Gunners fought back to earn a draw versus Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday, whereas Villa were triumphant in Europa Conference League action against Lille two days later.

Match preview

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta pictured on April 9, 2024© Reuters

For the first time since 2010 under the reign of Arsene Wenger, Champions League quarter-final nights returned to the Emirates on Tuesday and did not fail to disappoint, with Mikel Arteta's in-form Arsenal crop and European powerhouses Bayern Munich playing out a four-goal thriller.

After opening the scoring from the spot versus Brighton & Hove Albion last weekend, Bukayo Saka was quick to rise to the big occasion against the Bavarians to give his side the lead, although the Gunners needed a late Leandro Trossard strike to draw the contest following first-half goals from Serge Gnabry and Harry Kane.

With their progression into the last four of the Champions League up in the air ahead of Wednesday's memory-filled journey to the Allianz Arena, Arsenal must quickly turn their attentions to a three-horse title race in the Premier League - a competition in which Arteta's troops have dropped just two points since the beginning of the calendar year.

Since the defensively-solid performance on the grounds of Pep Guardiola's Manchester City, the Gunners have resumed their flamboyant displays as they charge towards the English crown, beating Luton Town and Roberto De Zebri's Brighton by an aggregate scoreline of 5-0, facing just three shots on target across the two matches.

The North Londoners will be seeking revenge following the reverse fixture at Villa Park in early December - a period in which Unai Emery's Villans truly showcased their top-four credentials - with a seventh-minute John McGinn goal being enough to sentence the Gunners to only their second league defeat of the term at the time.

Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn celebrates scoring against Lille on April 11, 2024.© Reuters

Looking to secure their first major trophy since 1996, Aston Villa solidified their tag as favourites to win the Conference League by beating French outfit Lille 2-1 in the first leg of their quarter-final duel at Villa Park on Thursday, although the Villans' advantage in the tie was halved late on.

Always the man for a big moment in the Second City this season, Ollie Watkins headed home to put Emery's side ahead inside 15 minutes before captain McGinn curled in a second after the half-time break, but Bafode Diakite pulled one back for Les Dogues to set up an intriguing second leg at Decathlon Arena next Thursday.

Unlike the three teams currently sitting above Villa in the top-flight standings, it is hard to argue that Emery's troops have a standout star, but England international Watkins is certainly staking his claim for a place in the club's history books, with the 28-year-old having scored 25 goals in all competitions this season - a tally only Dwight Yorke can equal for the Second City outfit during a Premier League campaign.

Villa have surrendered fourth spot in the table following the collection of just a single point from their last two league matches, with Sunday's visitors sharing the spoils with Thomas Frank's Brentford after a six-goal stunner at Villa Park last Saturday, when Watkins netted a 80th-minute goal to force a draw.

Arsenal have been victorious in back-to-back home fixtures versus Aston Villa, but the visitors had an extremely-positive experience at the Emirates back in November 2020, when a Watkins brace and an own goal from Saka secured a three-goal victory for Dean Smith's Villans in North London.

Arsenal Premier League form:

Arsenal form (all competitions):

Aston Villa Premier League form:

Aston Villa form (all competitions):

Team News

Arsenal's Gabriel reacts with Leandro Trossard, William Saliba and Jorginho after blocking a shot from Brighton & Hove Albion's Joao Pedro on April 6, 2024© Reuters

Following an injury scare at Brighton last weekend, centre-back Gabriel was fit enough to play the entirety of Arsenal's Champions League showdown with Bayern, and the Brazilian should partner Frenchman William Saliba at the heart of the hosts' backline once again.

Struggling to deal with the likes of Leroy Sane and goalscorer Gnabry, Jakub Kiwior was subbed off at the interval on Tuesday night, meaning that it would be a surprise to see the Pole lining up at left-back on Sunday versus the Villans.

Oleksandr Zinchenko entered the field of play at the expense of Kiwior for the second half, but it could be the versatile Takehiro Tomiyasu who operates on the left of the Gunners' defence for this one.

The only occupant of Arsenal's medical room ahead of this weekend's battle is Jurrien Timber, who is back in first-team training following a serious knee injury, but the former Ajax man is not ready in terms of fitness to be thrown into the Premier League fire just yet.

After receiving his 10th caution of the campaign versus Brentford last time out in the league, Brazil international Douglas Luiz will now serve a two-match suspension as Villa aim to fight on and secure a Champions League berth.

In the absence of the influential 25-year-old, Scotsman McGinn requires a new partner in the engine room - an honour which could potentially be handed to youngster Tim Iroegbunam.

Emery's options in the middle of the park are further reduced by the injuries of Boubacar Kamara and Jacob Ramsey, who are sidelined due to knee and foot issues respectively.

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

Aston Villa possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Konsa, Carlos, Torres, Digne; McGinn, Tielemans, Iroegbunam; Bailey, Rogers, Watkins

SM words green background

We say: Arsenal 3-1 Aston Villa

With an extra two days to recuperate following their respective European outing, Arsenal should be in a good position to reclaim their spot at the top of the Premier League after Man City and Liverpool play earlier in the weekend.

Villa proved a tough nut to crack in the early stages for Guardiola's men at the Etihad on April 3, but without the presence of Luiz in their midfield, we feel that the visitors will fall to defeat here.

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

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Tables header RHS
CManchester CityMan City38287396346291
4Aston Villa382081076611568
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs382061274611366
7Newcastle UnitedNewcastle381861485622360
8Manchester UnitedMan Utd38186145758-160
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham381410146074-1452
10Crystal Palace381310155758-149
11Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton381212145562-748
14Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38137185065-1546
17Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest3899204967-1832
RLuton TownLuton3868245285-3326
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd38372835104-6916

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