Arsenal - Aston Villa - Preview

Arsenal start their Premier League campaign at home to Paul Lambert’s Aston Villa, after a frustrating close season of missing out on their main transfer targets.

Midfield holder Mikel Arteta is likely to miss up to a month after the Spaniard injured his thigh in training. Theo Walcott will have Arsene Wenger sweating over his fitness, with the winger forced to go off against Scotland with a knee problem. However Walcott is expected to be fit, and should be part of Arsenal’s starting eleven.

Arsenal’s longer term absentees include captain Thomas Vermaelen, Monreal and Diaby, whilst Sagna and Ramsey look likely to miss out.

Aston Villa’s biggest signing of the summer has been star striker Cristian Benteke signing a new contract, and with Darren Bent moving to Fulham, there is no questions over who will be leading the line for the Villan’s.

Villa have the advantage when it comes to a clean bill of health, with Charles N’Zogbia the only notable absentee from Lambert’s starting eleven.

Arsenal will be looking to get off to a good start in front of their own fans and will be looking to cement their place among the early runner’s. Villa will be looking to improve upon their showing last year, where they spent a large part of the season with the spectre of relegation looming large.

Arsenal go into the game with an upper hand over the Midlands club, having won three out of the last four meetings.