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With Three Points Being More Important Than Ever Now, Which Arsenal Will Turn up Against Aston Villa ?

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Aston Villa are now fully aware of the size of the task ahead of them to stay in the premier league. Having played 5 games, they have won 1, drawn 1 and lost 3 and immediately it looks as if their major problems are at both the front and back, after scoring just 4 goals and conceding 6. In their last five meeting Arsenal haven’t lost a single game, nor have they conceded a goal but that was a few years ago.

Arsenal and Aston VIlla in May 2016 with Arsenal the overwhelming 4-0 winners but the playing field might be reasonably level for this one because of Arsenal’s indifferent start.

Villa boss Dean Smith, has done an amazing job in getting the midlands club promoted and he will know that they will have to rob and steal to be in with a chance of staying there. A vulnerable Arsenal will be ripe for the picking if they roll up expecting any favours.

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Rumours of discord at the Emirates have been circulating for days but it seems Villa have had their own dust up. Anwar El Ghazi was apparently locked in a heated discussion with Tyrone Mings at half time during the game against West Ham. The pair had to be parted and common sense eventually prevailed (apparently) we will see !

As for Arsenal, they come in to this match unable to exert authority or control for periods of their matches and unfortunately, it’s the same old story of gifting goals at the back. They’ve scored 8 but conceded 8 and those goals have been down to ugly individual errors, poor judgement and a general lack of communication.

That aside, Emery can’t find the formula he needs to win games. He is unsure of his best side, with an abundance of individually gifted players that can’t work together and lack the resolve to fight for a result.

The game against Watford was by far the worst example, with a spineless capitulation and featuring the worst second half performance since the Europa league final against Chelsea last term.

Arsenal will score, no problem but can they hold on ? I said last year that it’s almost as if they need to score six to win a game because it’s a certainty they will concede.

We won’t really know what Emery has or needs until Holding, Bellerin and Tierney are fit and available but even with Mustafi and Ozil making cameo appearances, Arsenal are so far no better off.

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I’m more irritated by Emery’s erratic use of Dani Cabellos, who hasn’t been used consistently or well since his £15m loan deal. He would and should be in the number 10 creative midfielder role, regardless of Ozil’s fitness. The German has, I’m afraid, run his course and I see no reason for trying to accommodate him even for his astronomical wage.

Emery should just wave him off to the reserves if he feels he isn’t good enough. He’ll soon put in a transfer request, mark my words. Aston Villa will be up for an upset and a draw wouldn’t be the end of the world but for Arsenal, already 7 points behind Liverpool in the premier league, it would heap more pressure on their Spanish coach.

However, the Europa league win on Thursday has lifted the gloom for Arsenal, even if temporarily and it will be interesting to see if Saka or Willock are included in the starting 11. This game will either see Arsenal win handsomely or struggle to find a way through, it’s hard to say which but Arsenal need points as much as Villa.

Preferred side:-

Leno, Maitland Niles, Sokratis, Chambers, Kolasinac, Torreira, Luiz, Pepe, Cabellos, Saka, Aubameyang.

Probable side:-

Leno; Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Luiz, Kolasinac; Xhaka, Guendouzi; Pepe, Ozil, Ceballos; Aubameyang.

Predicted score : 3-1 to Arsenal.

Final thought :- Pepe is due his big game.

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The Highbury Flyer
Anti Kroenke , anti Gazidis but always a gooner. Still wishes he could watch from the stands at the Highbury library.

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