Aston Villa travel to Arsenal
Aston Villa kick off the next round of Premier League fixtures as they travel to the Emirates Stadium to take on Arsenal on Friday night. The Villians will be hoping to repeat their trick from last season, where they dispatched Mikel Arteta’s side 3-0 thanks to a brace from Ollie Watkins and an early own goal from Bukayo Saka.
Having spent lavishly in the summer, Dean Smith’s side are yet to truly kick into gear yet this campaign, an accusation that can also be levelled at Mikel Arteta’s side. The clubs sit 13th and 12th respectively in the Premier League heading into the clash, with both sides only having picked up three wins from their opening 8 games of the season.
Thus, a win for either side would be a big step in the right direction, and would propel them into the top half of the table (ahead of the rest of the weekend’s games), where both sides ultimately hope to be come May.
Dean Smith issues update on key pair
Speaking ahead of the tie, Dean Smith offered mixed team news on key pair Matty Cash and Leon Bailey. For the former, it was good news, with Smith revealing that he was “fine”, suggesting that he will once again return to the Villian’s defence.
However, the prognosis was less promising on Bailey. Although Smith revealed that he has been training for the last couple of days, he suggested that he will be a substitute for the Emirates clash, saying:
“We are building up their fitness, they will be in the squad, but we’ll have to assess where they are.”
While it is a boost to have him back, will it come too soon for him to make any real impact?