It’s the penultimate round of Premier League fixtures of the 2019/20 campaign and Arsenal is on the road again, going up against relegation-threatened Aston Villa.
The Gunners will be hoping to make it three-straight wins across all competitions, whereas the Villains, well, they’re staring down the barrel and fighting for top-flight survival.
Good day one and all.
Arsenal put their past failings against both Liverpool and Manchester City behind them with two impressive wins within four days. First beating The Reds 2-1 in the league on Wednesday, then booking their spot in the finals of the FA Cup thanks to a 2-0 victory over City on Saturday night.
With three games left on our calendar the aim now is to maintain that good run, culminating in the Wembley clash against Chelsea to show that the club is indeed heading in the right direction under head-coach Mikel Arteta.
For the Gunners to make European football through the league, well, Crystal Palace is playing in flip-flops so we would need Chelsea to beat Wolves on the final day, as well as us winning our last two games by a few goals. However, if that doesn’t go our way, we have an escape route of winning the FA Cup final to keep the continental hopes in our hands.
Conversely, it has been a very disappointing return to the Premier League for Aston Villa; who with just eight wins from 36 games are 18th in the league table, three points and a 4 goals worse off than 17th-placed Watford.
Dean Smith, however, will feel that avoiding defeat here would give them a real shot at survival going into the final matchday, considering the managerless Hornets have Man City (tonight) and Arsenal still to play.
That said, having lost each of their previous six matches against the Gunners the odds are not looking good for the Villains. So if they are to turn that around, they will need to dig into all of their mental resources and ability tonight.
Arsenal is likely to go with a similar XI as the one from the Reds game with Cédric Soares, Rob Holding, Bukayo Saka, Lucas Torreira, Reiss Nelson and Sead Kolasinac all expected to start.
Eddie Nketiah also returned from suspension and could lead the attack, while if Mesut Özil has fully recovered from a back problem, may well make his first appearance since the restart.
This is a massive game for Villa who will be desperate for all three points, however, with Arsenal determined to finish the season on a high they will not be in a charitable mood. COYG!