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Arsenal v Aston Villa early predicted line up – no big surprises

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No doubt there will be quite a few fans calling for some of the players that featured in the Eintracht Frankfurt game that are not normally in the Arsenal first team to be given a chance against Aston Villa on Sunday but I just do not see that happening.

Bernd Leno will return between the sticks and the backline will be the same one we have become used to seeing this season, the midfield will have Granit Xhaka and Matteo Guendouzi as starters I am fairly certain of that and both Mesut Ozil and Dani Ceballos are very likely to return to the starting line up.

Both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe are nailed on to start-up front, in effect, the same team that started against Watford.

This then is my predicted line up.

Leno
Kolaasinac
Luiz
Sokratis
Maitland-Niles
Xhaka
Guendouzi
Ceballos
Ozil
Pepe
Aubameyang


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The reason I feel that Sokratis and Ozil will return is that they were rested and both Pepe and Ceballos started from the bench on Thursday night, a kind of mini rest for them as well.

That said, knowing Unai Emery as we all do it would not surprise me if he did keep faith with the likes of Willock and Saka in some form but for the life of me I just do not see which players he would drop.

The same applies to Rob Holding, I just cannot see Emery starting him, though I am expecting him to get some game time from the bench.

Anyway, that is my prediction, what line up do you think Emery will go with?


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Arsenal legend Ian Wright pinpoints the Unai Emery decision which ‘baffles’ him

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Arsenal legend Ian Wright is “baffled” by the lack of football played by Mesut Ozil so far this season.

Ozil has made just two appearances this term, starting the 2-2 Premier League draw with Watford and 5-0 Carabao Cup win over Nottingham Forest.

However, the German has not featured in head coach Unai Emery’s last three match day squads.

Emery has confirmed Ozil is not injured and his absence is purely down to selection.

Wright, though, wants to see the 31-year-old back in a Gunners shirt sooner or later.

The former striker claims even if Emery wants to sell Ozil in January, prospective clubs will want to have seen him in action recently.

“I want to see more offensive players on the pitch in positions where we’re going to be able to hurt teams,” Wright told Premier League Productions.

“I don’t know what’s happened with Ozil, I’m not sure that we as a club can afford to have a player of that calibre, paying what they’re paying him, which is always going to be mentioned, not even in the squad, not even there at all.

“Because if that’s the case then what’s he doing to that asset?

“Is he going to go in January? Is that what he’s trying to say to us?

“Because for me he should be playing, he should be involved and even if he doesn’t like him, for whatever reason, you’ve got to play him if you want to get rid of him simply because you want people to see that he’s still a quality player. So that one baffles me.”

Arsenal are back in Premier League action next Monday when they visit promoted side Sheffield United.

The Gunners are currently third in the table, eight games into the season, having won half their matches.

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Arsenal ace Eddie Nketiah backed to end Leeds United loan deal early

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Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah has been backed by Darren Bent to look for a move elsewhere in January after struggling to nail down a spot during his loan spell at Leeds United.

Nketiah joined Championship side Leeds on a season-long loan from Arsenal during the summer transfer window.

He has scored four goals in his nine appearances under Marcelo Bielsa but is yet to start a league game.

And Bent does not want the 20-year-old to fall by the wayside like Saido Berahino did.

“[Nketiah] needs to be playing games,” Bent said on talkSPORT.

“We’ve seen for England Under-21s, we’ve seen over the years to be fair, a lot of strikers, you look at Saido Berahino, you look at his England Under-21 record, it’s as good as anyone’s, he couldn’t nail it down in the league.

“I think for Eddie Nketiah, he’s not playing at Leeds because [Patrick] Bamford’s in the way of him at the minute, and to be fair to Bamford he works extremely hard, and I think that’s the inly thing that’s keeping him in the team at the minute.

“Bielsa likes a hard-working side, he certainly puts defenders under pressure, shuts people down.

“But for someone like Nketiah and Arsenal Football Club, Arsenal are probably looking at this situation and saying ‘listen, we really believe in this kid but he needs to be playing games’.

“At the minute he’s got an impossible task trying to move [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang and [Alexandre] Lacazette but he’s never going to get the opportunity to do that if he’s not playing games.

“So I think he may in January have a look at going somewhere else.”

Nketiah scored a hat-trick for the England Under-21s in the 5-1 win over Austria on Wednesday and he impressed former Spurs striker Bent.

“The first one was instinctive, the cross comes in, someone knocks it down, he was just in the right place at the right time, swivels, puts it in,” Bent added.

“The second one a header, again gets himself in the six-yard box between the centre-halves, no one really picks him up, comes in, great header into the far corner.

“And the last one was arguably my favourite, which is a tap in.”

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Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder says his team are confident as they prepare to host Gunners

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‘We fancy our chances and we are bullish’: Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder says his team are confident ahead of Arsenal test as they prepare to welcome Gunners to Bramall Lane

  • Sheffield United take on third-placed Arsenal at home on Monday night
  • The Blades have won twice and lost three as the promoted side look to stay up 
  • Unai Emery’s Arsenal have won four games and lost just once and sit in third
  • Chris Wilder says he believes his players can get something from the game  

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has promised his players will be full of confidence going into Monday night’s home clash with Arsenal.

The Blades have made a decent to the Premier League season and are 13th having picked up nine points from eight games, with two wins and a point away at Chelsea.

While Arsenal are sitting in third place, just a point behind second-placed Manchester City, Wilder believes his side can come away with a result after narrowly losing to leaders Liverpool in their last home game.

Chris Wilder's men took a point away at Chelsea and narrowly lost to league leaders Liverpool

Chris Wilder’s men took a point away at Chelsea and narrowly lost to league leaders Liverpool

‘Arsenal are an historic, iconic club and it is another brilliant fixture for us as a football club,’ he said.

‘I thought we played well against Liverpool but we need to pick up something from the game this time and we believe we can do that. We went after Liverpool when we could and picked our times, and we will do that against Arsenal.

‘We are competitive and we fancy our chances and we are bullish. At the same time, however, understanding the threat and pace and power that Arsenal have in the top end of the pitch – we must respect that.’ 

The Blades will make their return to Premier League action in front of the television cameras on Monday night, giving boss Chris Wilder extra time to finalise his plans following the international break.

The Blades are hopeful of making an impact in the league this season after being promoted

The Blades are hopeful of making an impact in the league this season after being promoted

The Blades are hopeful of making an impact in the league this season after being promoted

Injured trio John Fleck, Oli McBurnie and David McGoldrick will be given every opportunity to prove their fitness ahead of the game. McGoldrick missed Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2020 qualifiers with the groin injury, while fellow striker McBurnie pulled out of the Scotland squad with a knee problem.

Meanwhile, midfielder Fleck made his Scotland debut in the defeat in Russia before also withdrawing from the squad through injury ahead of the win against San Marino.

Wilder said: ‘We’ll give them as much time as possible. They are important players for us so we will give them enough time and opportunities to be available for Monday night. 

‘We can’t take risks on them and take a big gamble of sticking them out there, that wouldn’t be fair on the fit players either.’ 

Arsenal will provide a stern test at Bramall Lane, with Unai Emery's side unbeaten since August

Arsenal will provide a stern test at Bramall Lane, with Unai Emery's side unbeaten since August

Arsenal will provide a stern test at Bramall Lane, with Unai Emery’s side unbeaten since August

Goalkeeper Dean Henderson has already returned fit and well from England duty and Wilder is hoping Republic of Ireland trio Enda Stevens, John Egan and Callum Robinson do likewise.

He said: ‘The international boys will be back in today, so fingers crossed that they come back healthy – and early indications are that they are okay.

‘We’ve talked about how proud we are that a few of our boys are involved on the international scene now and a couple of them had tough games last night for the Republic (of Ireland).

‘We want as much time to prepare as possible and playing on the Monday night does give us an extra couple of days to do that, which we need when we are coming up against a side as tough as Arsenal.’ 



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