Arsenal vs. Aston Villa: match thread

Mike Hewitt

OH THANK GOD SWEET SWEET MUSIC'S IN THE AIR THE EPL IS BACK LIFE IS WORTH LIVING AGAIN

Arsenal vs. Aston Villa

Saturday, August 17th, 2013

Location: the Emirates

Kickoff: 10am EDT / 3pm GMT

TV: NBCSN; mun2

SBN Aston Villa Friends: 7500 to Holte

So much has gone on (or, shall I say, not gone on) regarding Arsenal this summer that it feels like we haven't really had a proper summer to completely anticipate the start of the season.  It seems like yesterday that the squad reconvened for training and a long flight out to Asia, yet here we are today getting ready for the first league match of the season.  While the next few weeks will be filled with more transfer drama, we finally now have something else - something more meaningful - to talk about: actual matches that count, starting with today as the Gunners welcome Aston Villa to the Emirates.

A quick peek at the starting lineup for Arsenal shows how Arsene Wenger plans to move forward without Mikel Arteta as he recovers from his thigh knock: Tomas Rosicky is starting and playing out left with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain assuming the 10 behind Olivier Giroud.  Rosicky is very attack-minded with the ball and a solid creator of chances; how he translates this from the left (possibly assuming the same sort of qualities Santi Cazorla brings while stationed out there by cutting in and allowing Kieran Gibbs the chances to toss in crosses to an attack trying to overload the opposition back line) will be something that should be watched closely.

While I worry, like many of you, about today's match in a sense that if Arsenal fail to secure a win how the reaction would be in all various media, I genuinely believe our starting XI can get the job done.  Here's to hoping for success today, transfers before September 2nd and a strong, fulfilling season that we can look back on with delight.

COME ON YOU GUNNERS!

Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Gibbs; Ramsey, Wilshere, Rosicky; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott, Giroud

Subs: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Frimpong, Cazorla, Gnabry, Podolski, Sanago

Aston Villa: Guzan; Lowton, Vlaar, Baker, Luna, El Ahmadi, Westwood, Delph, Agbonlahor, Benteke, Weimann

Subs: Steer, Okore, Clark, Bacuna, Helenius, Bowery, Tonev

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