Though the Gunners boast the best away record in the top-flight heading into Saturday’s visit to Villa Park, a certain Unai Emery is seemingly building something special there.
Sacked by Arsenal in November 2019, the Spaniard returned to England last year and has since transformed the team he inherited from Steven Gerrard.
Villa’s fantastic win over Manchester City on Wednesday night extended their formidable winning run at home to 14 games. Seven of those have come in the league this season, leading to talk of a potential title challenge.
Arsenal, then, must be at their best if they are to get anything from this evening’s huge game.
The Gunners will have to do so without manager Mikel Arteta on the touchline, too.
Why is Mikel Arteta not on Arsenal touchline?
Arteta was shown his third yellow card of the season while celebrating Declan Rice’s late winner at Luton on Tuesday, leading an automatic touchline ban.
He will instead watch on from the directors’ box at Villa Park and joked on Friday: “They will play better and they will be more positive, and I can influence with my positive mind towards them.”
Assistant manager Albert Stuivenberg will take charge from the touchline in Arteta’s place.