Arsenal v Villa Preview/ Lineup: Just Two Changes from Tuesday’s Team

Arsenal v Aston Villa – February 6th, 2021

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If we’re talking about historical relevance, there are not many clubs in the world that can compete with Aston Villa. In addition to being one of the oldest football clubs in Britain, Villa are the originators of the Football League – the top flight in the country until the Premier League was formed in 1992. In its early history, Villa was one of the most consistent sides in English football, winning several First Division, FA Cup and League Cup titles. They are also one of only five English clubs to have won the European Cup/Champions League title.

Basic facts

Founded: 1874

Home grounds

Wilson Road (1875–1876)

Wellington Road (1876–1897)

Villa Park (1897–)

Main trophies

First Division: 7

FA Cup: 7

Football League Cup: 5

European Cup: 1

Prominent players

Archie Hunter, Billy Walker, Trevor Ford, Danny Blanchflower, Andy Gray, Brian Little, Peter McParland, Paul McGrath, David Platt, Paul McGrath, Dwight Yorke, Stiliyan Petrov

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Club records

Located in Birmingham the Aston Villa Fotball Club was founded in 1874, by four cricket players who were looking for something to do during the winter break. The club was therefore founded approximately one year before the city rival Birmingham City (named Small Heath Alliance until 1905).

In 1885, the club’s president, William McGregor, realized a need to keep the fans interested in the game; together with eleven other leading English clubs of that period, Villa founded the Football League in 1888. Led by George Ramsay they quickly proved to be the most dominant side of the Victorian era, claiming five First Division titles and three FA Cups before the turn of the century.

With the rise of football’s popularity in the country, however, many other clubs started to emerge as contenders for the throne. Still, Villa remained a powerhouse; after winning another FA Cup in 1905, they followed it up with their sixth First Division title in 1910. After another two FA Cup victory in 1913, the club’s golden era ended at the outbreak of the First World War.

While Villa had started off the post-war period by claiming another FA Cup in 1920, it soon became obvious that their best years were behind them. After a long period of decline, the club was relegated to the Second Division in 1936, for the first time in their history. They did not win another trophy until 1957 and a famous victory over the Busby Babes in the FA Cup final. In 1961, Villa added to their trophy room by winning the inaugural League Cup.

After a new low for the club – a relegation to the Third Division in 1970 – Villa turned a new leaf by appointing Ron Saunders as coach. They were back in the First Division by 1975, the same year that saw them win another League Cup. With Saunders’ ability to spot a good player and his famous “no-nonsense” approach to coaching, Villa’s streak of good results continued into the 80s. After a League Cup victory in 1977 and an unexpected First Division title in 1981, Villa won their first and only European Cup in 1982 by shocking the favoured Bayern Munich in the Final. One of the heroes was the reserve goalkeeper Nigel Spink who replaced Jimmy Rimmer early in the match and made some astonishing saves. The last triumph was however made without Ron Saunders as the coach. Some months earlier, after a dispute with the chairman Ron Bendall at a time the team had a negative trend in the league, Ron Saunders had decided to resign.The Premier League era has been filled with ups and downs for to Villa, they were placed second in 1993 and on the bottom of the table in 2016. They managed to claim two more League Cups in 1994 and 1996.

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The Aston Villa crest is distinguished by the lion drawing, “The Rampant Lion of Scotland”.  The lion has no obvious link to the club, instead it symbolizes the club’s values in form of bravery and strength. The small white star, left of the lion is there to honor the club’s European Cup title. Besides the “AVFC”, initials for Aston Villa Football Club, the lower part has also the word “Prepared” which has been a traditional motto (the motto has been removed in a new version with the initials and lion image slightly increased).

Arsenal’s season to date results

FulhamA1  3033
West HamH1  2113
LiverpoolA  113-20
Sheffield UH1  2113
Man CityA  101-10
Leicester CH  101-10
Man UnitedA1  1013
Aston VillaH  103-30
Leeds UA 1 0001
WolvesH  112-10
TottenhamA  102-20
BurnleyH  101-10
SouthamptonH 1 1101
EvertonA  112-10
ChelseaH1  3123
BrightonA1  1013
West BromA1  4043
Crystal PalaceH 1 0001
NewcastleH1  3033
SouthamptonA1  3123
Man UnitedH 1 0001
WolvesA  112-10
Arsenal v Aston Villa EPL Away Games 
128-Dec-92  101 
223-Apr-941  21 
317-Apr-951  40 
402-Dec-95 1 11 
507-Sep-96 1 22 
610-May-98  101 
713-Dec-98  123 
805-Mar-00 1 11 
918-Mar-01 1 00 
1017-Mar-021  21 
1105-Apr-03 1 11 
1218-Jan-041  20 
1305-Feb-051  31 
1431-Dec-05 1 00 
1514-Mar-071  10 
1601-Dec-071  21 
1726-Dec-08 1 22 
1827-Jan-10 1 00 
1927-Nov-101  42 
2021-Dec-111  21 
2124-Nov-12 1 00 
2213-Jan-141  21 
2320-Sep-141  30 
2413-Dec-151  20 
2521-Jul-20  110 
Arsenal v Aston Villa All Away Games
Division 115133587131

Our last game against Villa ended in a 0-3 home loss and started a run of seven games without a win and only gaining 2 points out of a possible 21. Since that poor run we have been on a run of W5, D2, L1, GF15, GA4. The only loss was against Wolves which was an aberation.

The results our last seven games at Villa Park have been:- W5, D1, L1, GF15, GA4.

I fully expect us to leave Villa Park with all three points.


Preferred/Predicted Lineup (by TotalArsenal):

With Leno and Luiz suspended, Gabriel and Runarsson should come in (assuming that Ryan is not fit enough to play). Holdingho is like XhakA a given at the moment and Bells and Soares are likely to start as our FBs. Partey was a joy to watch during the first half and his partnership with Xhaka is getting better every game. Auba may be available but Pepe is in good form and should really get the nod again. ESR and Saka are currently first team choices as much as Rob and Granit are, and the same can be said about Laca. So not too many surprises in my preferred line up which should not be too far off the actual one. COYGs.

54 thoughts on “Arsenal v Villa Preview/ Lineup: Just Two Changes from Tuesday’s Team

  • Great introduction, as always, GN5.
    My predictions are in the previous thread, just after TA’s ‘New Post’ announcement. 🙂

    Not too likely, but my preferred line-up would be:

  • Thanks N5…. T, your lineup and explanations make perfect sense. Will be close choice between PEA and Pepe on the left. My preference would be Pepe, for his better defensive work and reward for recent improvement, with Auba on after 60 or so minutes, very tough on tiring defenders. Auba might get the starting nod because of star power.

  • Great summary of a typically English football club. I love the stadium and it made me think about Highbury the one time I saw Arsenal play there. You feel it is a club that should be going places, but they almost always disappoint. Hopefully again so tomorrow afternoon, but it will be a difficult one for us (and I am less convinced about a win than you).

    You wrote: “One of the heroes was the reserve goalkeeper Nigel Spink who replaced Jimmy Rimmer” I love those names, proper old-fashioned football names. You can things like: you have just been Spinked or You don’t mess with the Rimmer.

    Great stuff and I am glad you were able to a MP for us, GN5!

  • Cheers PB, Tierney does not sound fit to me and Auba looked sluggish too. Ode in the hole may well happen, at least at some point during the game.

  • A good article.

    Whenever I think of Villa Park, it takes me back to the 1971 FA Cup semi-final replay against Stoke. I was given a lift up by my friend’s father. They were both Stoke fans and baulked at the prices the touts wanted but said they were happy to listen to the commentary on the radio if I wanted to go in. So, I spent all my pocket money on a ticket and found myself on the terraces amongst the Stoke fans! I had to control myself as we won 2-0.

  • Here’s our team news update ahead of Saturday’s Premier League match at Aston Villa:

    Bernd Leno
    Suspension. Serving one-match suspension following red card against Wolves.

    David Luiz
    Suspension. Serving one-match suspension following red card against Wolves.

    Pablo Mari
    Right calf. Pablo has returned to full training and is available for selection.

    Mat Ryan
    Right hip. Mat has been in full training on Thursday and Friday and is available for selection.

    Kieran Tierney
    Kieran is continuing to be assessed for discomfort in the right lower leg and is unavailable for Saturday’s match.

    As part of Premier League protocol, all members of our first team squad and support staff continue to be regularly tested for COVID-19.

    Copyright 2021 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source.

  • Nice write up chaps.

    Arteta isn’t one for changing a winning team, but as we lost last time out he’ll maybe need to be more adventurous with his selections. Or not as the case might be?

    Lacazette as centre forward hasn’t let us down so I don’t see a change there, Saka on the right is too good to change and Pepe on the left likewise. Aubameyang hasn’t done anything this season to make me think that he’s earned the right to come straight back into the side despite the armband, to me that’s irrelevant. Therefore if you have to earn your place by performance and not reputation then PEA should be on the bench, unless there are fitness issues.

    Xhaka/Partey/ESR unless Mikel thinks that ESR needs a break and want to use Odegaard? I’d imagine the way they’ve trained this week will have an influence?

    Ryan in goal for me, I think it’s worth the risk because playing Runarsson is a risk whatever his fitness status.

    Holding, Bellerin, Soares and hmm, the one pick I’m not sure of, because I’m leaning towards Mari but I think that Arteta will go Gabriel, and that’s fine I just wonder if he’s 100% after WuFlu?

  • I stumbled on a link earlier on Friday and say the U23 match between Arsenal vs Chelsea.

    The Chelsea team all looked as if they’ve spent inordinate amount of time in the gym as they’re all strong, muscular, quick and strong with a firm attitude of confidence. So you can see how they intimidate opponents as they did in their last game a 6-1 demolition of Man Utd.

    Arsenal were up against it as Chelsea are always motivated for a game against London’s top dog, a title they’d love for themselves. The Arsenal players didn’t look as imposing initially or as strong, but we had two advantages, we had in general a superior technique among our players and we had the best player on the pitch in Reiss Nelson.

  • TA, the best part of that article was the details about Artetas match preparation.. I love to see that. We were complaining for years that the team was lacking it.

  • .Chelsea took an early lead and spent the early part of the game bullying the young Gunners, but despite that I saw encouraging performances developing from young Patino, Akinola and Cottrell in midfield.
    Gradually Nelson took the game to the Chelsea players, the Blues so confident seemed anxious when Reiss was running at them, they sensed that he was the superior technician and they backed off.

    Reiss fired home a beautiful free kick to equalise and it was game on.
    Then Chelsea struck back, carving through the middle to lead at half time but I’d really enjoyed how our Nelson inspired team was taking them on.

    Arsenal came out and traded punches in the 2nd 45 causing the preening Blues some hairy moments.
    When Chelsea got up a head of steam our defenders and midfielders gave as good as they got, Akinola was like a tank as the Chelsea players bounced off of him as they attempted to win the ball, he hardly lost possession all match and was a major element in our midfield, I liked him. Patino grew and grew in confidence as the game progressed until he was strutting his stuff with clever turns, twists and moves that Johann would have been proud of, he’s a future star believe me.

    Alebiosu surprised me, a tall spindly right back who looked like a baby giraffe, but those long legs are like a certain Viv Anderson in the way they dispossessed opponents, then he was off bombing down the wing – one to watch.

    Lopez looks good, Cottrell is skilful and tenacious, Kirk was a rock at the back, Moller worked hard in the No.10 and Nelson was the star man, he was a couple of levels above and tipped the balance, he scared the Chelsea players throughout the game but Balogun was strangely disappointing, Dinzyel was decent.

    Patino hit the equaliser a well deserved equaliser after a long spell of intense Arsenal pressure, a sharper Balogun and we might have won, in fact we probably should have but it was a very entertaining game and left me feeling very optimistic

  • Hey, guys. Been a hectic few days for me. It has been “busy” on here too. Great comments all round and fantastic work being done by TA to keep it going.

    Looks like Ryan starts in goal today; hopefully, he is fully fit.

  • Have to put in my own predictions now….

    Aston Villa vs Arsenal… A
    Burnley vs Brighton…… A
    Fulham vs West Ham… A
    Man Utd vs Everton….. H
    Liverpool vs Man City… A
    Leverk’sen vs Stuttgart.. H

  • Saka will have to drop back a lot to help Bellerin with Grealish. Instead of backing off, Bellerin should be advised to get touch tight often enough and only back off where we are short at the back.

    Game’s started. Good luck to the lads for the win.

  • Mix up at the back and we’ve conceded so early in the game. Long afternoon, now. Unless we strike back quickly enough.

    What was Gabriel doing not taking responsibility for that pass?

  • Our balance is being called to question because the hosts are a well drilled side. Cedric will take some time to settle and reverse the flaw in balance.

    Just saw, on second viewing, it was Cedric who hit that pass to Gabriel too short. Martinez is reminding us what a good keeper he was for us (that last season), making a good save off Xhaka’s we’ll taken free kick.

  • We need a bit more venom in our final attacking moves. They are fouling us everywhere and the ref is poor once again. Poster boy Grealish can foul Saka at will. Still I feel we can turn this round.

  • Let’s appreciate that TA predicted ALL 11 players in the starting line-up properly.
    However I think he was not the only one…

    Of course the ship has not sailed yet, still I think Mikel should have made more changes. Xhaka, Holding, ESR and Saka shouldn’t have started after running their socks off on Tuesday (and apart from Saka all start against MU and Southampton as well). This also applies to Bellerin and Soares, but we don’t have proper substitutes on the flanks at the moment.
    Partey and Ceballos should have started in midfield with a Martinelli-Odegaard-Pepe attacking trio supporting Laca or Auba. And it’s not just tired legs, but literally full predictability, not to mention the concept of talented players competing for spots kind off assumes that the starting line-up consists of the players in better form and better shape. So far the starting XI is fully determined (!) by the previous line-up and injury/suspension updates.

  • The day Willian gets jailed and forever removed from Arsenal will officially become my second birthday.

    The referees did us again today but that’s become a regular service.

  • The only good news? Just a small bore wound to one foot.

    OK, a bit more– as Mat Ryan proves himself an outstanding #2– keeping his team afloat with several outstanding saves.

  • PB, while I understand your take on keeping the players fresh, that didn’t appear to be the problem today. Hindsight is always 20-20, by the way; had this same side gone on to win, we’d probably be cheering the manager’s genius.

    Again, Villa have played the same players for the last few games and if theirs aren’t fatigued (think 9-0 with 9 men), why should our well paid players be? I make bold to say such a wholesale change will only lengthen our bedding in period and it could easily be 2 or 3 goals down by the time we have settled.

  • Apart from Matty Ryan everyone else gets less than 5. Arsenal were known to have technical players, say what you will about Arsene he always filled his team with technical.players. how far have we regressed we cannot consistently make forward passes, can’t hold on to ball in tight spaces and cannot find players who are few yards away. We consistently loose too many balls in our won back third which leads to goal.
    Matty Ryan is good enough for backup goalie. Let’s forget EMI Martinez and love Matty the way we did EMI.
    Really upset that we lost 3 games that we should have. I demand we win against Man C now, no excuses. It’s a lesson that when you are winning run don’t slack.
    We are probably the worst team in the league for making individual mistakes that leads to us losing matches. What does it indicate? Coaching?, Decipline? Pride in performance? Not caring enough? Pick your choice.
    Also can we never a have decent injury record. Partey again injured. What’s happening? This is one long shitty season and frustrates the hell out of you.
    Finished my rant. Saturday spoilt so upset and angry.

  • Southampton’s Bednarek has rewarded his club’s successful appeal of his red card with another own goal, against Joe Willock’s Newcastle side.

    Another loanee, Minamino of Liverpool, pulls one back for S’pton.

  • Kev, that compilation is an eye opener and just brings to the fore the very thing most have been saying about the way decisions are made when it concerns the Arsenal. The expectation that VAR was brought in to get the decisions right has proven to be a farce when it is about Arsenal.

    I saw a recent video comparison of two similar tackles; the one involving Pogba on (I think it was Sheffield United’s) McGoldrick, as he shaped to be face to face with De Gea. There was clear contact to cause the player to go down, preventing a potential goal scoring opportunity. The ref just looked away and VAR didn’t as much as review the incident. The other involved David Luis on Wolves’ Jose; an unintended contact which was, if anything, initiated by the attacking player. David Luis was sent off and a penalty given, in an inexplicable neglect of the Double Jeopardy rule in football. Someone juxtaposed both incidents in a video and the stark bias in the officiating was brought home.

    I also won’t forget how Bruno Fernandez has clearly used his studs on the back of Granit’s ankle but he got away without as much as a caution, whereas, that was a potential red card because he was retaliating to some perceived rough treatment by another Arsenal player, earlier on.

    The crowning glory was how we lost our appeal for Luis’ red card but Southampton won theirs for Bednarek.

    It looks like we may never stop talking about this apparent gang-up against our club.

  • Eris, it does us no harm at all to remind ourselves how we are routinely stitched up as soon as we show signs of becoming competitive again. We’ll be ok for the next two or three games but if we look like we might be pushing for top four we’ll get shafted once more.

    How does Konza stay on the pitch? It’s a David Luiz scenario but the referee either lacked the courage to make the decision or he was showing favouritism to Villa. Konza goes off and it’s a different game just as it was for us at Wolves. Frankly I’m sick to death of the clearcand obvious double standards and it’s time someone at the higher echelons at Arsenal made their displeasure know in the media…

  • Eris, you have a point there, as Auba, Odegaard and Willian didn’t play any better than Lacazette, Saka or Smith-Rowe, but they came on for a short stint playing under huge pressure, that usually doesn’t help for shining.
    You are also right, that Aston Villa didn’t rotate its core team in the last 3 games either. But my point is not primarily the sheer physical impact of playing 3 games in 7.5 days, but rather the crazy workload of playing – and trying to equalize! – with 9/10 men against a full team.

  • Pleasant surprise! As the Arsenal ladies are on a major network (NBCSN) vs Man City over here this afternoon.

  • We lost to Manchester City (1:2), which is a less pleasant surprise. Or maybe not such a big surprise as we keep losing from the tom 2-3 teams in recent seasons both home and on the road. It’s very likely that Arsenal Women will miss Champions League football after 2 years, and will not finish in the top 3 spots that happened only once in the last 30 years (ever).
    Maybe it’s time to review the coaches’ competence and/or efficiency on every level…

  • I saw a tightly contested match with 3 exemplary goals scored. Also watched Arsenal defend with passion and grit in front of goal– denying several close range shots. Arsenal did have a goal disallowed for offside on a tight call.

    Maybe it’s time to check out the highlights of a contest played by two evenly matched teams.

  • It gets worse, Kev. In the game on Sunday, Manchester City defender Ruben Dias conceded a penalty for a foul on Liverpool’s Salah, making no obvious attempt for the ball in the process, but he only received a yellow card for that.

    Yet again, in the last game of the day, Sheffield United goalkeeper, Aaron Ramsdale, conceded a clear penalty on Chelsea’s Timo Werner, wiping out the striker and denying him a clear goal-scoring opportunity. Arsenal fans must have been frustrated to see that no card was issued him; not to speak of a red card. The inconsistency in these decisions is bizarre and must have our fans scratching their heads as to just why there seems to be a different rule for Arsenal. The number of cautions and red cards recorded against us gives the impression of a dirty team, which we are not, by any stretch of the imagination.

    We must use surrogates to keep highlighting these bits of injustice in the media and blogs.

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