First meets third in this pulsating clash at the top of the Premier League, as leaders Arsenal look to end Aston Villa’s 14-game winning run at home.
A dramatic 4-3 win at Luton ensured that Mikel Arteta’s side remained top ahead of this weekend, with new boy Declan Rice scoring a 97th-minute winner.
Whereas Unai Emery masterminded a 1-0 victory for Aston Villa over champions Manchester City in a dominant display at Villa Park.
Here is everything you need to know ahead of Saturday’s clash.
Aston Villa vs Arsenal – Premier League Match Preview
Aston Villa: WWWWDW
Unai Emery and Aston Villa are looking like a match made in heaven more and more each week, as the club looks to be solidly affirming their top four ambitions.
In possibly the most impressive performance of the Spaniard’s tenure as Villa manager, Emery’s side recorded 22 shots against Manchester City, whilst limiting the treble winners to only two.
Leon Bailey opened the scoring in the 74th minute, taking his tally of goal contributions up to eight in 13 Premier League appearances this season.
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) December 7, 2023
Villa currently sit only four points off the top of the Premier League and are only two behind second-place Liverpool.
Ollie Watkins has 14 goal contributions in 15 Premier League matches so far this campaign, and has previously scored four times against the Gunners.
Emiliano Buendia, Tyrone Mings and Bertrand Traore will miss the game through injury.
Arsenal are currently enjoying their best form of this season, recording six wins in a row.
The aforementioned last-minute winner from Declan Rice saved Arteta’s blushes at Luton, but the team have had a successful last few weeks, securing qualification to the Champions League knockout stages and creating a lead at the top of the table.
Never. Give. Up. ✊ pic.twitter.com/TAz9l8QTsr
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) December 6, 2023
Kai Havertz has played his part in the recent momentum, scoring three times in his last four appearances, including an 89th-minute winner against Brentford, as well as the equaliser in the Luton game on Tuesday.
Bukayo Saka now has more assists in all competitions than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues and has become the only Arsenal player in Premier League history to score or assist against every team he has faced in the competition.
Arteta will be in the stands for the match, after accumulating his third yellow card of the season during the celebrations of Rice’s goal.
Arsenal are without Thomas Partey, Emile Smith Rowe, Fabio Vieira, Jurrien Timber and Takehiro Tomiyasu, all due to injury.
Aston Villa 2-4 Arsenal, February 18th 2023
The last time Aston Villa didn’t win at home was Arsenal’s visit to Villa Park in February.
Arsenal went behind after five minutes due to a clinical Ollie Watkins strike but Bukayo Saka equalised shortly afterwards. Phillipe Coutinho put the home side back in front before the break, in what would be his last goal for the club.
A young side under pressure in their first title fight as a group, the Gunners responded on the hour mark, as Oleksandr Zinchenko opened his account with the North-London giants.
The game looked to be heading towards a 2-2 draw, with Emery set to be the nemesis of his former club.
What. A. Moment. pic.twitter.com/Pux7LZD2w4
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) February 19, 2023
However, up stepped Jorginho, whose thunderous 93rd-minute strike bounced off the upright and into the goal off ex-Arsenal ‘keeper Emiliano Martinez.
With Villa committing men forward in search of a last-ditch equaliser, Gabriel Martinelli ran the ball into an empty net in the final seconds of the game, to secure three important points in the title race.
Aston Villa: Martinez; Konsa, Carlos, Torres, Digne, Bailey, Kamara, Luiz, McGinn, Tielemans, Watkins.
Arsenal: Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Rice, Havertz, Odegaard, Martinelli, Jesus, Saka.
Who is the referee?
Is Aston Villa vs Arsenal televised?
UK and Ireland: Sky Sports
USA: USA Network.
What time is kick-off?
Saturday 9th December, 17:30 GMT.
Aston Villa – 23/10
Draw – 13/5
Arsenal – 11/10