Arsenal are set for a quick return to Premier League action on Friday, so let’s take a look at our predicted lineup to face Aston Villa.
On Monday night, Alexandre Lacazette salvaged a late draw for Arsenal at home to Crystal Palace, but the team really need to get back to winning ways now. Just a few days after that Palace clash, they’re back at the Emirates Stadium to face Aston Villa.
Arsenal do play again on the Tuesday after the Villa game. But it’s a League Cup clash, and Mikel Arteta will probably rotate for that fixture.
As a result, there’s no real reason Arteta shouldn’t pick his strongest available side on Friday. Most of them will likely get over a week off afterwards before their next start. Here’s our Arsenal predicted lineup to face Aston Villa.
There’s unlikely to be a change here, despite Aaron Ramsdale conceding more than one goal in an Arsenal game for the first time on Monday.
There was nothing Ramsdale can do about the first goal, and he was unsighted for the second, so blame shouldn’t be attributed to the goalkeeper. He made a few good saves and passes as well, so he’s likely to remain ahead of Bernd Leno.
Again, there probably won’t be changes in this area of the pitch, even after a game where Arsenal conceded twice. Arteta clearly favours the back four of Kieran Tierney, Gabriel Magalhaes, Ben White, and Takehiro Tomiyasu over any alternatives.
They’re a very young defence, and they’re going to have games where things go wrong, but playing together consistently should see them improve over time.
Albert Sambi Lokonga will feel hard done by that he wasn’t awarded a free-kick in the build-up to Palace’s second goal, and he otherwise made a positive cameo from the bench. We’re predicting him to start this time.
But with Bukayo Saka a doubt after he was volleyed out of the air by James McArthur, Partey, Smith Rowe, and Odegaard will probably all still start, just with Smith Rowe in the front three instead of in midfield.
For the first time in a while, it does at least seem possible that Gabriel Martinelli or Alexandre Lacazette might come back into the Premier League starting lineup. But there’s also a sense that they have the most value as impact substitutes right now.