Haven’t said this in awhile: “second place Arsenal FC.” No one doubts Arsenal’s Premier League title bona fides this season, but now they’ll have to reinforce how legit they truly are, in that regard, by coming from behind; albeit slightly.
The loss to Manchester City Wednesday night means they’re no longer leading the league and up next is another big time emotional match, but for very different reasons. The Gunners travel to Aston Villa, who are now led by Unai Emery, the last Gunners gaffer to precede the current one- Mikel Arteta.
Arsenal at Aston Villa FYIs
Kick: Sat Feb 18, 12:30pm, Aston Villa, Birmingham, UK
Arsenal Team News, score prediction: go here
Transatlantic Passage: How the Premier League Redefined Soccer in America: LINK
PL Form: Arsenal LDLWW Aston Villa LLWWD
PL Standing: Arsenal 2nd, 51 pts Aston Villa 11th, 28 pts
Google Result Probability: Arsenal 54% Brentford 21% Draw 25%
It goes without saying that Emery will be especially motivated to best the team that sacked him a few years ago. In order to prevent that from happening, Arteta might do a bit of long overdue squad rotation. Lots of excuses to go around for why Arsenal lost to Manchester City.
Should they have started Ben White? Maybe? I guess we’ll slot him in here, and also give Reiss Nelson a first team assignment, as he didn’t feature against City.
Two Arsenal players picked up yellows in that defeat (Takehiro Tomiyasu and Eddie Nketiah), and could see themselves dropped to the bench on the weekend. We left one in, and benched the other, but hey, what do we know?
It’s just a prediction, we’ll see what happens.
Arsenal FC Starting XI Prediction at Aston Villa (4-3-3)
Ramsdale; Tierney, White, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Xhaka, Jorginho, Odegaard; Saka, Nketiah, Nelson.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He’s written for numerous publications, including the New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune. He regularly appears on NTD News and WGN News Now. Follow the website on Twitter and Instagram.
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