It’s 12th versus 13th this weekend as Arsenal take on Aston Villa at the Emirates, with both sides having dropped points in their last league outing.
Here’s all you need to know ahead of that Friday night encounter:
After four successive wins in all competitions, Arsenal have been brought back down to earth somewhat in recent weeks, after two disappointing back-to-back draws against Brighton and Crystal Palace.
That latest clash against the Eagles saw Mikel Arteta’s men net an equaliser in the fifth minute of stoppage time to snatch a point, after it looked as if returning icon Patrick Vieira had guided his new side to a well-earned win.
The home side had flown out the traps in Monday’s meeting and took a deserved lead early on through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, before two second-half goals from Christian Benteke and Odsonne Edouard flipped the match on its head.
Facing a fourth league defeat of the season, the Gunners recovered to well grab an equaliser at the death, with Alexandre Lacazette firing in from close range after an initial good stop from Vicente Guaita.
While not the win that Arteta would have wanted, the result does mean that the north London club are now unbeaten in their last six games in all competitions, albeit while they still remain in the bottom half of the table.
As for this weekend, Granit Xhaka remains absent with a knee injury, though Bukayo Saka could return despite being forced off during Monday’s draw following a reckless challenge from Palace’s James McArthur.
Aston Villa: WDWLL
Aston Villa seemingly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory last time out, suffering a late capitulation to squander a two-goal advantage against Midlands rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers at Villa Park on Saturday.
The hosts had looked nailed on for the win after second-half goals from Danny Ings and John McGinn had put them firmly in control, before a dramatic last ten minutes saw Bruno Lage’s side remarkably run out 3-2 winners.
Defender Roman Saiss had initially set up a nervy ending with a close-range finish on the 80-minute mark, before Conor Coady bagged a rare, scrappy goal just moments later, with Ruben Neves’ deflected free-kick completing a stirring comeback in the 94th minute.
That sickening late blow condemned Villa to a fourth league defeat of the campaign, leaving them in 13th with ten points from their opening eight league games.
Ahead of their clash with Arsenal, full-back Matty Cash is likely to be available for Dean Smith’s side despite being forced off with injury in Saturday’s defeat, while summer signing Leon Bailey also has a chance of making a return.
Elsewhere, Bertrand Traore is another who could be in contention despite a recent thigh injury which kept him out against Wolves, although fellow forward Trezeguet remains a long-term absentee.
Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 06 February 2021
Aston Villa have a fine recent record in this fixture having won the last three meetings between the two sides with the most recent matchup having come back in February.
Dean Smith’s side had run out 3-0 winners in the reverse fixture earlier that season thanks to an Ollie Watkins brace and the England striker made the difference again at Villa Park, scoring inside two minutes with what proved to be the winning goal.
That early strike had come just 74 seconds into the debut of on-loan ‘keeper Mat Ryan, albeit with the Australian stopper going on to prevent any further damage with fine saves to deny both John McGinn and Jack Grealish.
At the other end, former Gunners man Emi Martinez also proved pivotal to quash any Arsenal fightback, notably keeping out a late Granit Xhaka free-kick to ensure that his new side completed a first league double over the north London club since the 1992/93 campaign.
Arsenal: Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey, Lokonga; Pepe, Odegaard, Smith Rowe; Aubameyang
Aston Villa: Martinez; Konsa, Tuanzebe, Mings; Cash, McGinn, Luiz, Targett; Buendia, Watkins, Ings
Who is the referee?
What channel is Arsenal v Aston Villa on?
UK and Irish readers can watch, or stream, the match on Sky Sports Premier League.
What time is kick off?
Friday 22 October, 20:00 BST
Arsenal – 10/11
Aston Villa – 11/4
Draw – 13/5