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Preview: Aston Villa vs. Arsenal - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's Premier League clash between Aston Villa and Arsenal, including team news and predicted lineups.

Aston Villa will be looking to give their survival hopes a boost when they play the penultimate game of their 2019-20 Premier League season at home to Arsenal on Tuesday night.

Dean Smith's side are currently 18th in the table, three points behind 17th-placed Watford, while Arsenal sit 10th but will have been boosted by beating Manchester City in the semi-finals of the FA Cup on Saturday.

Match preview

Jack Grealish warms up for Aston Villa on July 9, 2020© Reuters

The fact that Bournemouth lost at home to Southampton on Sunday afternoon was excellent news for Villa, who remain 18th in the table, three points behind 17th-placed Watford on the same number of games.

Smith's side have a worse goal difference than Watford, but a victory on Tuesday would give them a real chance of avoiding the drop, particularly considering that the Hornets host Manchester City on the same night.

There is no getting away from the fact that it has been a disappointing campaign for Villa, who have won just eight of their 36 matches, suffering 21 defeats in the process.

They have shown signs of real fight in recent games, though, beating Crystal Palace on July 12 before picking up a point away to Everton last time out, conceding a leveller in the 87th minute of that clash.

The omens are not exactly terrific for Villa as they have lost their last seven games against Arsenal in all competitions, but the Gunners do not have an awful lot to play for in the league.

Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates scoring against Manchester City on July 18, 2020© Reuters

Arsenal are currently 10th in the Premier League table, having only won 13 of their 36 league games this season, which is simply not enough for the club of their ilk.

There is no question that things have improved under Mikel Arteta, though, and the capital giants will enter this match off the back of two hugely impressive results.

Indeed, a 2-1 victory over Liverpool in the Premier League on July 15 was followed by a 2-0 success over Man City in the semi-finals of the FA Cup on Saturday night.

Triumphing in the FA Cup this season would see the club automatically qualify for the group stages of next season's Europa League, although they still have a chance of qualifying for Europe's second competition through their league position.

It would be fair to say that the match will mean more to Villa but putting another victory on the board would be a further indication that the club are finally heading in the right direction once again.

Villa Premier League form: DLLLWD

Arsenal Premier League form: WWWDLW
Arsenal form (all competitions): WWDLWW

Team News

Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah celebrates scoring on February 23, 2020© Reuters

Villa will again be without the services of long-term absentees Wesley, Thomas Heaton and Bjorn Engels, while Neil Taylor is also unavailable due to a hamstring problem.

Kortney Hause has been passed fit after recovering from an abdomen injury, although he could start on the bench with Ahmed Elmohamady keeping his spot at right-back.

Smith could stick with the same XI that started at Goodison Park last time out, but Keinan Davis is pushing to replace Mbwana Samatta as the central striker in a 4-3-3 formation.

As for Arsenal, Arteta is expected to ring the changes from the Man City game on Saturday might, meaning that the likes of Rob Holding, Cedric Soares, Lucas Torreira and Bukayo Saka should all earn starts.

Eddie Nketiah is available after a three-game suspension and could lead the line, while Mesut Ozil has recovered from a back problem to put himself in contention for his first appearance since the restart.

Bernd Leno, Gabriel Martinelli, Calum Chambers and Pablo Mari are all still injured, though, while Matteo Guendouzi is unlikely to be involved due to disciplinary problems.

Villa possible starting lineup:
Reina; Elmohamady, Konsa, Mings, Targett; Luiz, Hourihane, McGinn; Trezeguet, Samatta, Grealish

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Martinez, Holding, Luiz, Kolasinac; Cedric, Torreira, Xhaka, Saka; Nelson, Nketiah, Pepe

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We say: Aston Villa 1-1 Arsenal

Villa are in desperate need of a win to keep their survival hopes alive, but we are finding it difficult to back Arsenal to lose, with the Gunners picking up two huge victories in their last two games. Both sides should have periods in possession, and we fancy a 1-1 draw at Villa Park.

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Arsenal forward Eddie Nketiah after being handed a red card against Leicester City on July 7, 2020.
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2Manchester CityMan City64111211113
4Manchester UnitedMan Utd6411135813
6Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton641185313
7West Ham UnitedWest Ham6321138511
8Aston Villa631297210
11Tottenham HotspurSpurs630349-59
13Leicester CityLeicester6213710-37
14Wolverhampton WanderersWolves620435-26
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17Newcastle UnitedNewcastle6033714-73
18Leeds UnitedLeeds6033614-83
20Norwich CityNorwich6006216-140

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