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Aston Villa v Arsenal: Match Preview And Game Thread

Arsenal travel to Birmingham looking for their second win of the season

Friedemann Vogel

Aston Villa vs Arsenal
Barclays Premier League
KO: September 20, 2014 10:00 AM EDT/7:00 AM PDT/3:00 PM BST
Villa Park
TV: NBC Sports Network, NBC Live Stream

After an indifferent week following the 2-2 draw against Manchester City and the flattering 2-0 loss against Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal travel to Villa Park effectively needing their second win of the season, lest they fall as much as potentially 9 points behind Chelsea. Arsenal are unbeaten in the Premier League this season, but within that statement is a caveat: they haven't really played that well, leading for a grand total of 20 minutes with wins against Crystal Palace and draws against Leicester and Everton perhaps lucky results. Aston Villa, on the other hand, are flying high, in second place and off the back of a 1-0 victory at Anfield. Despite having only 6 shots on target and 4 goals, Villa have won 3 times, and have only conceded 1 goal.

Despite Arsenal's indifferent form and Villa's obvious defensive and counter-attacking strengths, Arsene Wenger looks set to stick to the new 4-1-4-1 formation that tries to fit Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Alexis Sánchez and Mesut Özil into attacking midfield positions while retaining midfield balance. So far, it's worked as well as it sounds, i.e. not at all.

Despite an ankle injury scare, Jack Wilshere should be alright, and Arsenal have no new fresh injury concerns. Calum Chambers is fit to start and will likely replace Hector Bellerín, while Santi Cazorla could come in for either Aaron Ramsey or Mesut Özil. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain may also start. Nacho Monreal remains out, meaning Arsenal have these options to play centre-back in case of injury:

Projected lineup: Szczesny; Chambers, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Arteta; Cazorla, Ramsey, Wilshere, Aleixs; Welbeck

Prediction: Aston Villa 1-1 Arsenal