Matchday eight in the Premier League kicks off with Aston Villa travelling to the Emirates Stadium to take on Aston Villa on Friday night.
The two sides enter the game separated by just one place and one point in 12th and 13th respectively. They each will be hoping to rise up the table with a victory here.
A last-second Alexandre Lacazette equaliser earned Arsenal a point against Crystal Palace last time out, while Aston Villa were, in contrast, on the receiving end of some late heroics in their 3-2 defeat to Wolves.
Here is everything you need to know ahead of this weekend’s Premier League curtain raiser…
When is kick off? Friday 22 October, 20:00 (BST)
Where is the match being played? Emirates Stadium
TV channel/live stream? Sky Sports Main Event (UK), fuboTV (US), DAZN (Canada)
Highlights? Sky Sports YouTube channel, Match of the Day (Saturday – BBC – UK)
Referee? Craig Pawson
VAR? Michael Oliver
The big news for Arsenal is that Bukayo Saka – who was forced off against Crystal Palace – is fit to start after taking a nasty kick to the calf from James McArthur.
Kieran Tierney is a late absentee with bruising to the ankle, allowing Nuno Tavares to make his first start in the Premier League. Granit Xhaka remains sidelined for the long-term.
Aston Villa are without Trezeguet because of a knee problem, and are unable to call on Bertrand Traore and Keinan Davis.
Leon Bailey is fit enough to return to the bench after injuring himself in a starring cameo against Leeds, and Morgan Sanson is again on the bench after returning against Wolves.
Arsenal: Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, Gabriel, White, Nuno Tavares; Partey, Lokonga, Smith Rowe; Saka, Aubameyang; Lacazette
Aston Villa: Martinez; Konsa, Mings, Tuanzebe; Cash, Luiz, Buendia, McGinn, Targett; Watkins, Ings
These two institutions of English football first squared off back in 1904 and have met just shy of 200 times competitively since.
Prior to 2020, Arsenal were on a run of seven straight victories against Villa. In more recent times though, their fortunes have switched.
Villa have won each of the last three fixtures with their most recent victory coming in February 2021, where a goal from Ollie Watkins separated the sides.
Both of these sides underwent significant squad rebuilds in the summer, which has resulted in some disjointed performances to start the season.
Arsenal looked like they were turning a corner last month, but two disappointing draws in recent weeks have curtailed their momentum.
Villa have two good strikers who will likely cause their opponents’ serious problems and despite recent shakiness, they aren’t half bad at the back either. Arsenal will fancy their chances, but so will Villa – a potential score draw on the cards.
Prediction: Arsenal 1-1 Aston Villa