Arsenal will be looking to take another step towards a Champions League finish when they make the trip to Aston Villa on Saturday for a 12:30 clash in the Premier League (Villa 11/5, Draw 5/2, Arsenal 13/10 – Match Betting), while there is also FA Cup action at the Riverside Stadium.
The Gunners’ five-game winning streak came to an end on Wednesday night as they lost 2-0 at home to Liverpool but Mikel Arteta’s side can still take some positives in what was a spirited performance in defeat.
Arsenal (8/15 – Top 4 Finish) have won their last four away games in the league, scoring 13 times and conceding just three goals during this period, and they will fancy their chances against a Villa side lacking consistency.
Steven Gerrard’s men did win their last home contest, a 4-0 thrashing of Southampton, but they were on a four-game winless run at Villa Park before that success and they have struggled for momentum on home soil.
Villa are without left-back Lucas Digne, who was forced off in the last outing against West Ham because of a muscle injury, while centre-back Calum Chambers and midfielder Douglas Luiz both suffered facial injuries in that match but have been pictured in training.
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Arteta says there is “a chance” Takehiro Tomiyasu will be involved but admits the Gunners will be cautious in managing his niggling calf problem. There are no other injury concerns for the Spanish tactician.
Elsewhere on Saturday, there is a place in the semi-finals of the FA Cup at stake as Championship outfit Middlesbrough welcome Chelsea to the Riverside Stadium for quarter-final action (Middlesbrough 6/1, Draw 10/3, Chelsea 8/15 – Match Betting).
Boro are performing well in the league as they aim to secure promotion back to the Premier League, but their last victory against the Blues was a 2-1 home win on 23 August 2006 and they could find life difficult.
The hosts do welcome back striker Andraz Sporar and midfielder James Lea Siliki, both of whom have been missing recently through illness, although this game comes too soon for Riley McGree, Martin Payero, Darnell Fisher and Sammy Ameobi.
Chelsea head into the contest on the back of a 2-1 victory over Lille in the Champions League, extending their winning run to five matches across all competitions, but they could be without Andreas Christensen after he was forced off last time out.
Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi are also injury doubts and the duo are not expected to feature.
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