Arsenal host Aston Villa at the Emirates on Sunday evening, with the Gunners hoping to build upon their impressive victory over Manchester United last weekend.
Here’s all you need to know about Sunday’s Premier League meeting:
After a five year wait, Arsenal fans could finally celebrate an away victory against a ‘big six’ rival, with Mikel Arteta’s side comfortably seeing off Manchester United to put an end to that awayday hoodoo.
That trip to Old Trafford illustrated the great strides made under the Spaniard, with the Gunners looking almost impenetrable in defence, while new man Thomas Partey continued his superb start to life in England with a dominant display in the centre of midfield.
The result also saw Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang bring an end to his goal drought courtesy of a cooly taken second-half penalty, although it will still concern Arteta that has side haven’t exactly been free-flowing in attack in recent weeks.
As for the Europa League, the Gunners made it three wins from three in the competition against a lively Molde side to all but guarantee their progression into the knockout stages.
Their European exploits have allowed Arteta to offer valuable game time to a number of his fringe stars, with young Joe Willock perhaps impressing enough in recent weeks to force his way into the reckoning for some Premier League minutes.
With a tough clash with Villa to come, Arsenal will once again be without defensive duo Calum Chambers and Pablo Mari, as well as forward Gabriel Martinelli. Former Chelsea defender David Luiz could make a return to league action after featuring in midweek.
Aston Villa: WWWLL
Aston Villa have been brought crashing back down-to-earth in recent weeks after their stunning early season form was halted by back-to-back Premier League defeats.
Dean Smith’s side were first undone by a brilliant Patrick Bamford hat-trick at home to Leeds United two weeks ago, before last weekend saw them concede four against an in-form Southampton side, with James Ward-Prowse netting two glorious first-half free-kicks.
Villa did recover well to bring the scoreline back to 4-3, but that will have been little consolation for a side that at one stage found themselves second in the table.
On a more positive note, the Villans still pose a real threat in attack, with Jack Grealish in particular in exceptional form so far this campaign. The club’s ability to tie their captain down to an extended deal is looking more and more like excellent business with every passing week, as the now England international’s reputation continues to build.
As for Sunday’s clash, Smith will be sweating over the fitness over summer signing Bertrand Traore after the former Lyon man was forced off at St Mary’s inside the first-half. Goalkeeper Tom Heaton and forward Wesley are both long-term absentees.
Last meeting – Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal 21 July 2020
The two sides last met at the back-end of last season, with Villa in desperate need of a result as the scrap to stave off relegation reached its climax.
The hosts made the best possible start in their hunt for survival, with Trezeguet smashing home at the back post midway through the first half. Villa should’ve been two up in the second period, yet young Keinan Davis sliced wide, before Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah struck the post as the home side struggled to hang on.
In the end that Trezeguet goal was enough to see-off Arteta’s side, while they would then go on to secure survival a few days later with a 1-1 draw on the final day.
Arsenal: Leno; Gabriel, Holding, Tierney; Bellerin, Elneny, Partey, Saka; Aubameyang, Lacazette, Willian.
Aston Villa: Martinez; Cash, Mings, Konsa, Targett; McGinn, Luiz; Grealish, Barkley, Trezeguet; Watkins.
Who is the referee?
How can I watch?
UK readers can watch the match on Sky Sports Box Office.
What time is kick off?
Arsenal – 13/20
Aston Villa – 4/1
Draw – 31/10