Ox To Start! Aston Villa vs. Arsenal: Team News & Predicted Line-Ups

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Arsenal get back into Premier League action this weekend following their heroics in Athens, and it’ll be another tricky test as they travel to Aston Villa.

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The Gunners are beginning to find their feet again though following convincing wins over Sunderland and Olympiacos, which have left December as a key month in their title challenge.

But with a pile-up of injuries still to contend with over the next few weeks, Arsene Wenger needs to ensure his side don’t lose their focus against a team like Villa.

Remi Garde’s men are currently slumped at bottom place in the table with just six points from 15 games, and lie seven points away from getting out of the drop zone.

That will surely tempt Wenger to have a play around with his side, who face a crunch match against Manchester City the following week.

Both managers revealed all of the latest team news and updates on long-term injuries to give us an idea of who we might be seeing in the starting line-ups on Sunday afternoon.

Arsenal

The Gunners have been struggling all season to try and get a fully fit squad, and this weekend will see a number of big characters missing. 

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Arsene Wenger reassured that no fresh injuries were picked up in mid-week despite the pre-game scare from Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil.

There was more encouraging news from Alexis Sanchez (hamstring) who will return to training on Monday as he battles to get back earlier than expected for the Man City tie.

Mikel Arteta (calf) and Jack Wilshere (ankle) then look like the most likely of the absentees to join up with the first team, and we can expect to see them involved in the squad on Boxing Day.

Also missing are Danny Welbeck (knee) and Tomas Rosicky (knee) who will both be working towards a recovery date of early January.

Long-term injuries to both Francis Coquelin (knee) and Santi Cazorla (knee) will keep them out until late February to the beginning of March.

Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Cech, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Ramsey, Chambers, Ox, Ozil, Campbell, Giroud

Aston Villa

Despite there being not much for Villa fans to get excited about this season, it seems there are plenty of options returning to the squad to test Arsenal.

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During last weekends 1-1 draw with Southampton Garde’s side picked up several knocks, but following a mid-week training session things are looking up.

The in-form duo of Rudy Gestede and Leandro Bacuna are standout names in this Villa squad and they’ve both shaken off injuries to be in contention.

There’s also good news for Jack Grealish, who has been promoted back into the first team after dropping down to the Under 21’s following an incident in a nightclub.

However, captain Micah Richards is set to sit this one out after failing to recover from an on-going injury so expect Jolean Lescott and Jores Okore to both continue from their impressive performance last week.

Predicted XI (4-2-2-2) Guzan, Hutton, Okore, Lescott, Bacuna, Grealish, Sanchez, Gueye, Sinclair, Gestede, Ayew

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