The only two changes from Mikel Arteta for Arsenal’s game-week opening Premier League tie with Aston Villa are replacements for David Luiz and Bernd Leno, who are both suspended after being sent off.
Brighton loanee and Arsenal fan Mat Ryan gets a chance for his beloved club in between the sticks in favour of Leno, leaving the Gunners free from calling on the shaky Alex Runar Runarsson.
There are no other changes from the 2-1 defeat to Wolves in mid-week, which may come across as a real surprise to some, but remember the Gunners were leading before they imploded last time out.
See More: Video: Wolves delete brutal ‘final brain cell’ TikTok about Arsenal star Bernd Leno in vicious trolling of red card in Gunners defeat
? Two changes from Tuesday
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) February 6, 2021
Here’s how some of the Arsenal faithful have reacted to Arteta’s teamsheet:
They dismantled us at the Emirates
Time for revenge
Loss or draw is not accepted
Get the win #COYG
— CallMeMichealino??? (@CMichealino) February 6, 2021
Still no start for Ødegaard? Why did we get him then?
— 33 ® (@the1886club) February 6, 2021
why drop an on form smith rowe if he’s not tired???? ø will get his chances
— Shiv Mistry (@shiveshmistry) February 6, 2021
Hope he’s not overplaying ESR
— Ahmed (@Ahmed91Gooner) February 6, 2021
Have you seen how much he’s being overplayed? He’s close to being worn out if not managed properly.
— Harry (@RunReissRun) February 6, 2021
Really wanted to see Odegaard start guys. Good team nonetheless. Just hope Bellerin-Holding don’t stink up today like they did in the reverse fixture.
— Swarnabh Kashyap?? (@GoonerSwarny) February 6, 2021
Arteta is slowly gonna turn ødeegard into Denis suarez ???
— MAJID (@AFCWatch3) February 6, 2021
people were confused about why we signed ryan? imagine we had to play runarsson today..
— temp?? (@afctemp) February 6, 2021
Real Madrid loanee Martin Odegaard, who joined Dani Ceballos with a temporary move to Arsenal in January, starts on the bench for his third successive game since arriving.
Arsenal sit just a point behind Aston Villa – who hold two games in hand, so this is a massive match, the Gunners also need to produce a much better showing after they were embarrassed by the Villains earlier in the season.
Considering the impact a loss or even a draw would have on Arsenal’s chances of moving up the table in the short to medium-term, this encounter against one of the season’s high-flying sides is really a must-win game.