Arsenal will be hoping to call upon the fitness of Mat Ryan when they travel to Aston Villa this lunchtime. The Gunners will be looking for revenge
Arsenal will be hoping to call upon the fitness of Mat Ryan when they travel to Aston Villa this lunchtime. The Gunners will be looking for revenge following their 3-0 capitulation at the hands of Dean Smith’s side back in November.
Mikel Arteta will be without first-choice goalkeeper Bernd Leno for the contest.
The German was sent off in the week in surprising circumstances, after deliberately handling the ball outside of the area in the 2-1 defeat at Wolves.
Brighton loanee Ryan has been absent from training as he steps up his recovery from a hip injury.
The Aussie arrived from the Seagulls until the end of the season last month and could make his Arsenal debut today, permitting he is fit.
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Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka are set to keep their places at the base of midfield.
Martin Odegaard will have to remain patient in his wait for his first Arsenal start.
On the left wing, Nicolas Pepe’s fine strike at Wolves is expected to be rewarded with another start.
Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka are also expected to keep their place behind Alexandre Lacazette.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been missing for several matches now due to personal reasons but was back involved at Wolves.
He’s unlikely to be recalled straight into the starting XI, as he looks to rebuild fitness levels.
Arteta is of the belief that every player, including Aubameyang, must fight for their place in the team.
“At the end of the day, we have to play the players who are in the best form and everybody has to earn the right to play and participate in the games,” he said.
“That’s what everybody’s doing, pushing each other to raise the level. You can see that the level has been raised because everybody is playing at their best.
“There’s still room for improvement so everybody has to keep pushing.”
Expected Arsenal XI (4-2-3-1): Runarsson; Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Cedric; Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Smith Rowe, Pepe; Lacazette.