Aston Villa probably gave up their best chances of survival when they come away from Goodison Park with a single point instead of three. Tomorrow, they welcome FA Cup Finalists Arsenal to Villa Park with Dean Smith still hopeful of Premiership survival.
I will be honest, I am resigned to relegation. I believe the game against a side who have just beaten a very good Manchester City will be a step too far. We have failed to beat a top side this season so this would mean we would have to break that mould. I hate being negative where Villa are concerned and I would love nothing more than for them to prove me wrong but I just can’t see it.
They say it is the false hope that hurts the most and that is probably why the draw at Everton hurt me so much. I felt, like on many other occasions this season, the three points were there for the taking but for one reason or another we failed to come away with all three. And that is why we find ourselves in the position we currently find ourselves in. It’s a season of what if and buts but the simple thing is, the league table doesn’t lie.
Arsenal still have an outside chance of finishing 6th and their fans will want them to do everything they can to finish above their local rivals Tottenham so I can’t imagine we will see a side already on their holiday like we did at Everton.
Smith has described Villa’s squad fitness as “OK’. Apart from those who have already been ruled out for the remainder of the season, Kortney Hause will be available after recovering from an injury he picked up in the warmup during the Crystal Palace win.
Arsenal will be without Shkodran Mustafi (hamstring) and Bernd Leno (knee ligaments) but will have Eddie Nketiah (suspended) and Cedric Soares (cup tied) available after they missed their win against Manchester City in the FA Cup.
Just like Villa, Mikel Arteta has a few long term injuries of his own that include Calum Chambers (knee), Pablo Mari (ankle) and Gabriel Martinelli (knee) who have all been ruled out for the remainder of the season.
Smith has praised the players performance against both Crystal Palace and Everton so It would not surprise me to see the same team selection. The Villa supporting boss has stated his side must keep going with their work levels and they will reap the rewards – I can only prey that he is right when he says this.
Keenan Davis may get the nod over Mbwana Samatta after impressing off the bench.
Fantasy Premier League
My pick for Aston Villa this week is Ireland international Conor Hourihane. The midfielder has won his position back in recent games and has picked up an assist in each of the last two games for Villa.
At £5.7M the former Barnsley midfielder is dangerous from a set piece and with just 0.2% of FPL managers picking Hourihane he could prove to be a stroke of genius.
When I pick these players I like to try and think outside the box but its hard to look past Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for Arsenal. The striker will cost you £10.9M but has by far the most points for Arsenal this season with 187 points. The striker has 20 Premier League goals to his name and will have one eye on the golden boot.
I think that Arsenal will be on a high following their weekend result and despite my blind optimism I can’t see anything other than an away win, sadly.
Aston Villa 1-2 Arsenal
Details and Television
Competition: Premier League
Venue: Villa Park, Birmingham
Date: Tuesday, 21st July 2020
Kick-off: 8.15 pm (UK Time)
Television: Sky Sports