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Arsenal will be aiming to make it five wins from five when they take on Aston Villa at the Emirates on Wednesday (7.30pm). Mikel Arteta was forced into two changes for the win over Fulham on Saturday after naming an unchanged XI for the first three games of the season.
Thomas Partey and Oleksandr Zinchenko both missed out with injury. And with the trip to Manchester United on the horizon, Arteta may look to rest a couple more stars.
Express Sport looks at the Arsenal team expected to line up against Steven Gerrard’s side.
Goalkeeper – Ramsdale
Arsenal have not kept a clean sheet at the Emirates since March. Aaron Ramsdale will be hoping that ends on Wednesday.
The England international was in good form at the weekend and preserved the Gunners’ lead with a late save. Villa have scored just three goals in their first four matches of the season.
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Defence – Tomiyasu, Saliba, Gabriel, Tierney
Takehiro Tomiyasu came off the bench for the third straight game on Saturday. Arteta may look to give him further minutes in this game and allow Ben White a rest in the meantime.
White has played out of position at right-back, which provides different physical and mental demands. Arteta won’t want to disrupt his centre-back partnership if he doesn’t need to, so William Saliba and Gabriel should continue.
Zinchenko’s injury is clearly only minor following his celebrations after Gabriel’s winner against Fulham. But he may not be risked for this one ahead of Sunday’s match at Old Trafford, so Kieran Tierney is set to keep his spot.
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Midfield – Elneny, Odegaard, Xhaka
Arsenal will also be hopeful that Partey’s injury is not a lengthy one. But again, he will not be risked if there is any lingering issue.
Mohamed Elneny stepped in against Fulham and is likely to do so again. Skipper Martin Odegaard should also start alongside a reinvigorated Granit Xhaka.
Attack – Martinelli, Jesus, Smith Rowe
Bukayo Saka is in need of a rest soon and this game could be the perfect chance. Arteta will want him to be firing on Sunday, so Emile Smith Rowe could come in to replace him.
Gabriel Martinelli may switch wings in order to accommodate Smith Rowe. Arteta may consider playing Eddie Nketiah over Gabriel Jesus but will be wary of disrupting a winning formula too much.
Arsenal’s predicted XI vs Aston Villa in full: Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, Saliba, Gabriel, Tierney; Elneny, Odegaard Xhaka; Martinelli, Jesus, Smith Rowe.
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