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Arsenal team news: Expected XI vs Aston Villa as Mikel Arteta faces late Bukayo Saka call


Mikel Arteta is expected to call upon Bukayo Saka against Aston Villa if the England international can prove his fitness. The attacker was forced off at half-time in Monday night’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace after receiving a volley to the calf by James McArthur.

Arteta was incensed that the incident was not reviewed by VAR and Arsenal felt they had a solid case for a red card.

However, McArthur stayed on the pitch and helped Palace earn a well-deserved point as Alexandre Lacazette rescued a draw for the Gunners deep into stoppage time.

Lacazette could earn a start against Villa if Saka is not feeling ready to start.

The Frenchman would then lead the line with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang pulling out to the left-side of attack.

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Kieran Tierney will start at left-back with Takehiro Tomiyasu slotting in at right-back.

Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes will also continue their partnership at the heart of defence.

In midfield, Albert Sambi Lokonga is expected to partner Thomas Partey in the centre of the park with Granit Xhaka still sidelined.

Further forward, Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard could provide support for Aubameyang with Saka.

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Arsenal are looking to get back to winning ways as they look to compete for the European spots and nothing other than a victory will do for Arteta, who remains under pressure in north London.

The Spaniard is under no illusions that Villa are a tough opponent, who can beat anybody on their day.

He said on Dean Smith’s side: “It is a test and they have shown how difficult they can be against us, because we haven’t got the results that we wanted against them recently.

“So we know they have improved their squad, the way they have played a lot in the last few seasons they are showing a lot of ambition the way they are recruiting as well, and it will be a difficult game for sure.”

Expected Arsenal XI: Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey, Lokonga; Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe; Aubameyang.

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