Aston Villa – Arsenal has so much on the line on Tuesday (start time, 3:15 pm ET) as Villa are battling against relegation and Arsenal are chasing Europa League qualification.
Dean Smith and Aston Villa know they must beat Arsenal and then West Ham on the final day to give themselves a chance of staying in the Premier League. They’ve picked up four points in their last two games and have looked much better defensively since the restart.
Arsenal have improved under Mikel Arteta too and put in two superb battling displays over the last week by beating Liverpool 2-1 in the Premier League and Man City 2-0 in the FA Cup semifinal.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Aston Villa v. Arsenal at Villa Park.
Aston Villa have Kourtney Hause fit but Neil Taylor is struggling with a hamstring injury. Aside from long-term absentees Wesley and Tom Heaton, no new injury concerns for Villa.
Arsenal will be without Shkodran Mustafi who injured his hamstring against Man City, while Bernd Leno has returned to light training. Cedric Soares is available after being cup-tied for the FA Cup semifinal, while Eddie Nketiah is available after his three-match ban.
🚨 𝗧 𝗘 𝗔 𝗠 𝗡 𝗘 𝗪 𝗦 🚨
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) July 21, 2020
📋 Tonight’s team news…
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) July 21, 2020
What they’re saying
Dean Smith on the dramatic relegation battle: We had a good win against Crystal Palace and followed it up with a good performance at Everton, where we should have won the game. They have to maintain the performance levels, work hard for each other and if you do that, you get the rewards. We need to win, we know that. You’ll always have people that want to put you down at times, so the job is to prove people wrong. We believe that we have enough in the dressing room, and we have to prove that.”
Mikel Arteta on fighting for Europa League: “We have to be in the same mood [as them]. We still have to win both games and wait to have a chance to qualify for Europe and that’s the mood that I want from everybody involved. It’s not in our hands at the moment and we knew that was going to be difficult, but we need to give it a go and try to win both games and then wait and see what happens. If we do that, I think we will have a good chance.”
Odds and ends (full matchweek odds)
The hosts Aston Villa are the underdogs (+220) for good reason and the fact Arsenal (-110) need a win to keep their Europa League hopes alive means the Gunners will go all out. The tie at +280 shouldn’t be left alone but it’s tough to see past an Arsenal win, especially after the confidence boost of beating Man City in the FA Cup at the…