Arsenal have won five of seven unbeaten games in all competitions, though a note of caution should be sounded over their resurrection.
The last two outings have seen them draw with Brighton and Crystal Palace, while aside from an impressive win in the North London derby with Tottenham, their other victories came against current bottom-three sides Norwich and Burnley, as well as third-tier side AFC Wimbledon in the League Cup.
Mikel Arteta paired Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith-Rowe ahead of Thomas Partey against Palace, but the more attacking make-up of the midfield didn’t work to plan, and it would be no surprise to see the Spaniard revert to his usual 4-2-3-1.
With Granit Xhaka sidelined, that could mean Odegaard is sacrificed for Albert Lokonga, though the Norwegian could be fielded out wide in place of the disappointing Pepe.
Elsewhere, it remains to be seen if Bukayo Saka will be fit after being scythed down by James McArthur, so Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang could also be pushed out to the flanks in order to accommodate Alexandre Lacazette, after the latter found the equalizer from the bench last time out.
Villa have only taken a single win from their past four games, though that did come away at Man Utd and they also took Chelsea to penalties at Stamford Bridge in the League Cup.
The other defeats came away at Tottenham and at home to Wolves, both by one-goal margins, with the latter fighting back with three goals in the last 10 minutes.
Villa Double Chance
Both sides are better than their positions in the table suggest, with Arsenal 12th and Villa 13th, though the latter will fancy their chances of turning it around here.
They’ve won their past three encounters against the Gunners without conceding a goal, including a storming 3-0 win at the Emirates last term.
Dean Smith has gone with a back three in recent games in order to get both Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins up front centrally, but having enjoyed previous success against Arsenal, may consider reverting to a 4-2-3-1 himself.
However, Leon Bailey and Bertrand Traore remain doubts for this clash, so he may consider wing-backs as a solution to a lack of natural wide men in attack.
Arsenal may appear more resilient and have a settled centre-back partnership of Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes, but individual errors still continue to haunt them and they were fortunate to come away with a point hosting Palace last time out.
Across all competitions, the Gunners are just W5-D4-L4 at home since mid-April, with four of those victories coming over relatively weak teams in West Brom, Brighton, Norwich and Wimbledon.
ASTON VILLA DOUBLE CHANCE