Arsenal Starting XI vs Aston Villa: Partey, Elneny and Saka Starts!

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Mikel Arteta didn’t report any fresh knocks or sprains from the win over Molde, so the fitness situation is pretty quiet in north London with longer-term absentees Pablo Mari (ankle), Calum Chambers (match fitness) and Gabriel Martinelli (knee) the only squad members who are definitely ruled out.

Reiss Nelson missed Thursday’s Europa League tie with a minor knock, however, and his availability remains unknown. The Arsenal boss made nine changes for that win over the Norwegians, with Willian and Bernd Leno the only starters from the win over Manchester United to keep their places.

The likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel, Thomas Partey and Hector Bellerin should all return to the starting XI for the visit of Aston Villa, then, with question marks only remaining over a handful of positions.

One of the tough calls is at centre-half, where the fit-again David Luiz is a challenger to Rob Holding having returned to playing action on Thursday.

Mohamed Elneny’s superb display in Gameweek 7 and breather on Thursday perhaps points to him being handed another start alongside Partey in the engine room but Dani Ceballos and Granit Xhaka will both be pushing for inclusion and it seems likely that Arteta will continue to rotate his options in central midfield depending on the opposition.

Joe Willock can be added to the equation now, too, with the 21-year-old excelling in a more advanced role against Molde in midweek.

The versatility of the likes of Saka, Tierney and even Aubameyang means that we could see any number of different formations containing the same personnel, be it a 3-4-3, 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1.

The right-wing slot is keenly contested with Willian, Nelson, Nicolas Pepe, Saka and Aubameyang all options there but the former has started all six Premier League matches that he has been available for since moving from Chelsea and looks to be a favourite of Arteta’s, despite some hit-and-miss form.

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