Arsenal can return to the top of the Premier League table with a win over mid-table Aston Villa on Monday evening.
Paul Lambert has had nine days to mull over the embarrassing FA Cup defeat to Sheffield United, which has eventually made him realise that his squad is lacking creativity from midfield. With striker Christian Benteke’s goal drought showing no signs of coming to an end, a playmaker is what Villa need, particular when their home record is among the poorest in the Premier League.
After wins for each of the six teams below them during the weekend, Arsenal now find themselves in third behind Manchester City and Chelsea, and with all the pressure on them going into this fixture. Their injury situation is still concerning, but they coped admirably without a number of key players in beating rivals Tottenham in the FA Cup, although Theo Walcott’s long-term injury has rendered it a bittersweet victory.
Ciaran Clark returns from suspension for Aston Villa, but fellow defenders Nathan Baker and Ron Vlaar are both injury doubts, while Jores Okore is still injured.
Walcott is out for Arsenal along with Abou Diaby and Yaya Sanogo. This game comes too soon for Nicklas Bendtner, but Olivier Giroud and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could both make their return from injury.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Aston