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EPL Preview: Arsenal look to inflict further pain on struggling Villans

Photo Courtesy: Daily Mirror
Photo Courtesy: Daily Mirror

Arsenal travel to the West Midlands to take on Aston Villa as they look to climb to the top of the EPL table.

Arsenal

The Gunners have been playing well this season, recording nine wins, three draws and three defeats in the Premier League so far.

Despite starting their 2015/16 EPL campaign with a 0-2 defeat against London rivals West Ham United, the Gunners bounced back, picking up nine points from their next four fixtures against Crystal Palace (2-1), Liverpool (0-0), Newcastle United (1-0), Stoke City (2-1).

After an unexpected 0-2 defeat against a struggling Chelsea side in their next game, Arsene Wenger’s men went on to record successive victories in their next five EPL fixtures against Leicester City (5-2), Manchester United (3-0), Watford (3-0), Everton (2-1) and Swansea City (3-0).

The North London side’s form saw a sudden dip in November, after they only managed to pick up two points from their next three fixtures against Tottenham Hotspur (1-1), West Bromwich Albion (1-2) and Norwich City (1-1).

However, the Gunners again bounced back, recording a 3-1 win over Sunderland in their last Premier League fixture. Now Arsenal, who are currently in third place in the EPL table, look to continue their winning ways as they prepare to take on Aston Villa on Sunday.

If they manage to win this game, the Gunners will temporarily move to the top of the table, as EPL leaders Leicester City only play their EPL fixture against Chelsea, late on Monday.

Considering their current level of confidence, after managing to qualify to the last sixteen of the Champions League against all odds, and Aston Villa’s poor run in the EPL this season, Arsenal are the clear favourites to win on Sunday.

Still, the Gunners will not be taking this game lightly as the EPL is known for its fair share of upsets.

Aston Villa

The Villans, meanwhile, have been in dismal form this season, managing only one win in the Premier League so far. After starting off the 2015/16 with a victory over Bournemouth, Villa have nosedived into the drop zone, following 11 defeats in their last 14 EPL fixtures.

Villa’s poor run of form gave the club’s hierarchy no choice but to sack Tim Sherwoord, who was relieved of his duties on 25 October. However, Sherwoord successor Rémi Garde has also not been able to turn things around at Villa Park, with the Frenchman still looking for his first Premier League win.

Although the struggling Villans are not expected to beat Arsenal on Sunday, Garde will be at least looking to pick up a point from this game so his side can gain confidence ahead of their other EPL fixtures.

Expected Lineups

Arsenal: Cech; Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Ramsey, Flamini; Campbell, Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain

Aston Villa: Guzan; Hutton, Okore, Lescott, Bacuna; Veretout, Sanchez, Gueye; Ayew, Gestede, Sinclair

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