Hello and welcome to football.london’s live Arsenal blog on Saturday!
It’s matchday and we’ll bring you all the latest news and build-up ahead of the Gunners’ Premier League clash with Aston Villa, which kicks off at 12:30 pm. Mikel Arteta’s side will be looking to bounce back from the midweek defeat to Liverpool and consolidate their place in the top four and that all important Champions League qualification spot.
But it wouldn’t be matchday without a bit of controversy, and there’s been plenty of that with Spurs boss Antonio Conte attacking Arteta for his comments on Arsenal’s ‘unfair’ fixture schedule. Only time will tell which manager was in the right here.
Elsewhere, we will have all the latest transfer rumors too as Arsenal continue to be linked with a number of exciting names ahead of the summer transfer window. One such player is Villa’s own Jacob Ramsey, who Arteta and co. will no doubt be watching very closely today.
With that in mind, sit back and let football.london bring you all the latest news as it happens.
Team news hint
Arsenal defender Nuno Tavares may have hintesd at Mikel Arteta’s starting XI for tpday’s clash against Aston Villa.
Read more HERE.
Jamie Carragher has heaped praise on Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves.
Speaking during Sky Sports’ coverage of the clash against Leeds, Carragher said: “I think Neves could play for any of the top teams in our league. You don’t want to lose a player of that quality from the game so early. “
Neves has been heavily linked with a move to Arsenal over the last year.
Michael Owen has predicted Arsenal to draw with Aston Villa this afternoon.
“Arsenal didn’t play badly against Liverpool; the game was settled because Liverpool just have that extra bit of quality in their side “, Owen said.
“Fourth spot is still in their hands, but this will be another tough game here.
“I’d expect Villa to be up for this, and I can’t see Arsenal going to Villa Park and winning. I’m going for 1-1. “
Speaking to the Design Museum to celebrate the launch of its new exhibition, Football: Designing the Beautiful Game, Ray Parlor has told Arsenal to sign Brentford star Ivan Toney.
I’d love to see Arsenal take a gamble on Ivan Toney. I think he’s a good young striker who has enjoyed a breakthrough season in the Premier League with Brentford.
I’d expect him to only get better as he moves towards his peak years and he’s also a nailed-on penalty taker which we don’t have now that Aubameyang has left the club.
Arteta addresses citicism
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta addressed the criticism he faced for his scheduling comments ahead of Saturday’s c; ash against Aston Villa.
Speaking ahead of the trip to Villa Park, he said: “I heard some comments about when you are in Europe, that is nothing new, that is nothing new to me, but I am not talking about Europe, I am talking about the Premier League and how we schedule the games in the Premier League.
“The first thing is to protect the players and we have mentioned that many times, please can we avoid the Wednesday night and the Saturday morning and traveling?”
Alan Smith has claimed that Arsenal may need to sign two strikers in the summer transfer window.
Speaking to Stadium Astro, Smith said: “The players that can get 15-20 goals these days cost about £ 80 million. Are Arsenal going to be able to get those players when Champions League teams will be after them as well?
“They tried to get Vlahovic, the boy from Fiorentina who went to Juventus, that didn’t quite work. I’m hoping they can get one. Maybe they need two central strikers in the summer. “
Aston Villa prediction
Arsenal icon Paul Merson has predicted his old side to share the spoils when they take on Aston Villa later today.
Writing for Sportskeeda, Merson said “I think there will be a lot of goals in this and if Arsenal manage to not get beat, it will still be a good result for them in terms of their top-four hopes. A draw wouldn’t be the worst result in the world, so I think these two sides will cancel each other out in an entertaining game. “
Merson’s Prediction: Aston Villa 2-2 Arsenal
Antonio Conte hits out at Mikel Arteta over his Premier League fixture complaints
Tottenham boss Antonio Conte has hit out at Mikel Arteta over his complaints about Arsenal’s Premier League schedule. Arteta was left unhappy with the quick turnaround between today’s game and the Gunners’ defeat to Liverpool three days ago.
But Conte hit back in his pre-match conference saying: “I only want Arteta to remember the game postponed. Tottenham – Arsenal okay? If we speak about unfair. I stop.”
Read the full story here.
Steven Gerrard makes big Jacob Ramsey claim amid Arsenal transfer rumors
Steven Gerrard has heaped praise upon Arsenal transfer target Jacob Ramsey ahead of the Gunners’ clash with Aston Villa on Saturday.
20-year-old Ramsey, who has had a breakthrough season with Villa, with seven goal involvements in 26 league appearances, has been linked with a move for the Gunners in recent months, and could prove the ideal signing to solve Mikel Arteta’s midfield problems .
Read the full story here.
West Ham ‘ready’ Lacazette contract offer
West Ham United are reportedly ‘ready’ to offer Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette a contract as they eye his services on a free transfer. The French forward is out of contract at the end of the season, with a number of clubs understood to be interested in his services by him.
Chief among those is the Gunners’ Premier League rivals West Ham, who have been considering making a move for Lacazette. Now, the Hammers are ‘ready’ to offer the striker a contract according to TEAMtalk.
Welcome to football.london’s Arsenal live blog!
It’s matchday so we’ll bring you all the latest transfer news and build-up to the big game.