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Aston Villa v Arsenal – BBC Sport


Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno and defender David Luiz will both serve one-match bans on Saturday

TEAM NEWS

Aston Villa head coach Dean Smith has reported no new injuries but he may freshen up his side in the wake of a lacklustre defeat by West Ham.

Bertrand Traore, Trezeguet and new signing Morgan Sanson could all start.

Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno and defender David Luiz are both suspended as a result of their red cards at Wolves on Tuesday.

Leno’s absence means either Alex Runarsson or Mat Ryan will start, although the latter has a hip problem.

LAWRO’S PREDICTION

West Ham did a job on Aston Villa on Wednesday but, unlike last season, I don’t look at Dean Smith’s side when they lose now and think they are going to go on a run of bad results.

The Hammers were set up to nullify Jack Grealish and it worked, so it will be interesting to see how Arsenal approach this one.

Will the Gunners bother doing that with Grealish, or will they just think they are better than Villa and just go and play their football? I don’t know.

Arsenal are without the suspended David Luiz in defence so they might change their shape and go with three at the back – but I fancy Villa to edge this one anyhow.

Prediction: 2-1

Lawro’s full predictions v BBC’s Morning Live presenter Gethin Jones

Arsenal failed to score in their previous two league games v Aston Villa, managing just two shots on target in total.
The Gunners managed just two shots on target in total

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • Aston Villa, who won the reverse fixture 3-0, could complete a first league double over Arsenal since the 1992-93 season.
  • Arsenal haven’t lost three league matches in a row against Villa since 1993.

Aston Villa

  • It’s four defeats in six league games for Villa, as many as they had in their previous 18.
  • They have lost 16 of their past 18 Premier League matches in the month of February, only beating Norwich in 2016 and drawing at Cardiff in 2014.
  • Dean Smith’s side need just three more points to equal last season’s final total of 35.
  • Jack Grealish has been directly involved in 16 league goals in 20 appearances, scoring six times and providing 10 assists. It’s already his highest tally in a season.

Arsenal

  • Arsenal’s seven-match unbeaten league run was ended by Wolves on Tuesday (W5, D2).
  • They conceded as many goals in that 2-1 defeat as in their previous seven top-flight fixtures.
  • The Gunners have scored nine goals in their past four league away matches.
  • Mikel Arteta’s side have the division’s third best defensive record this season behind Manchester City and Spurs.
  • Nine Arsenal players have been sent off since Arteta’s first game in charge on Boxing Day 2019, five more than any other side.
  • Nicolas Pepe has scored in three consecutive away league appearances. The last Arsenal player to score in four straight away league games was Olivier Giroud between September and November 2015.





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