Arsenal prepare for the challenge of Aston Villa on Saturday in Matchday 30 of the Premier League.
Mikel Arteta’s men remain firmly in the driving seat in their quest to secure a top-four finish for the first time since 2016.
Villa are ninth in the league table and while a top-10 finish falls in line with pre-season expectations from Villa fans, the truth is that under Steven Gerrard they would now want to be a firm fixture in the top eight, and next season they will need to improve their performances in matches like this one to vie for European football.
Arsenal had little to show for a brave display against Liverpool as they came away empty-handed in a 2-0 defeat at the Emirates Stadium.
Second-half goals from Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino put an end to the Gunners’ five-game winning streak.
Having amassed 51 points so far, Arsenal remain fourth in the Premier League table heading into the final quarter of the campaign.
Only 19 of those points have come away from home, where Saturday’s visitors have suffered five of their eight league defeats.
However, the North Londoners will be confident of securing a victory against Villa following a 3-1 win in the reverse fixture.
Aston Villa Premier League form: LLWWWL
Arsenal Premier League form: WWWWWL
Arteta will be without the services of Japanese defender Takehiro Tomiyasu, who is still out with a calf problem.
Gabriel Martinelli could be handed a breather in this one as he was the only member of Arsenal’s attacking quartet to have lasted the full 90 minutes on Thursday
Emile Smith Rowe was on fire at Villa Park in October and will be pining for a start here after consecutive substitute appearances since his return from injury.
Aston Villa possible starting line-up: Martinez, Chambers, Mings, Young; Ramsey, Luiz, McGinn; Coutinho, Watkins, Ings
Arsenal possible starting line-up: Ramsdale; Tierney, Gabriel, White, Cedric; Xhaka, Partey; Saka, Smith Rowe, Pepe; Lacazette
Score Prediction: Aston Villa 1-2 Arsenal
Arsenal may have hit a bump in the road against Liverpool but have been excellent in recent weeks nonetheless. Villa have also been in good form of late but we are tipping the Gunners to carry the day.
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