April 14, 2024

EPL: Two Arsenal stars doubtful for Aston Villa clash after missing from training

EPL: Two Arsenal stars doubtful for Aston Villa clash after missing from training

Two Arsenal defenders Gabriel Magalhaes and Jakub Kiwior were missing from the Gunners’ final training session before their Premier League clash against Aston Villa on Sunday.

Mikel Arteta’s side dropped to second in the Premier League table on Saturday after Manchester City wallop Luton Town 5-1 at the Etihad Stadium.

Arsenal, however, have the chance to reclaim top spot with a win over Aston Villa but Arteta seems to have two defensive injury headaches for the game against Unai Emery’s side.

Gabriel, who has been nursing an Achilles issue over the last month, missed Arsenal’s training session on Friday and was not seen with his teammates for their final preparations at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Kiwior, who was replaced at half time in the 2-2 draw with Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday evening, was also not among the Arsenal players who took part in Saturday’s session.

Takehiro Tomiyasu was part of the group who trained and could deputise at centre-back in Gabriel’s absence, while Oleksandr Zinchenko, who replaced Kiwior in the draw against Bayern, is also available.

Aston Villa, meanwhile, will be without influential midfielder Douglas Luiz for their trip to Arsenal as he is serving a suspension.

Emery’s side currently sit fourth in the Premier League, level with Tottenham on 60 points but with a superior goal difference.

However, Aston Villa have registered just won win in their last five Premier League games.

How Arsenal can hurt Aston Villa using new weak spots

As Aston Villa notably slow down towards the end of the season a new defensive vulnerability has opened up.

All three of Brentford’s goals in the 3-3 draw last weekend came from Sergio Reguilon crosses down Villa’s right, following a trend that has been going on for some time.

Manchester City’s first goal in a 4-1 win the previous match was a cutback after Lucas Digne was beaten down Villa’s left; West Ham’s goal in the 1-1 draw was a cross from Villa’s left; and three of Spurs’ goals in their 4-0 win were attacks funnelled behind the Villa full-backs.

In total, eight of Villa’s last 12 goals conceded have followed the same pattern, which tells Mikel Arteta that he needs to overload the wide areas to take on Unai Emery’s full-backs.

Arsenal deployed Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Jesus in wide positions against Brighton & Hove Albion in order to work around the outside of Roberto De Zerbi’s narrow formation.

That was how they won the penalty for the opening goal of the match.If they successfully pull this off, there’s a very good chance Arsenal will expose Villa’s new Achilles’ heel.

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