How Arsenal could line up at Aston Villa with Thomas Partey in race against time to be fit… but is Jesus ready? | The Sun

ARSENAL travel to Aston Villa this weekend desperate to halt their recent slump.

Wednesday night's 3-1 home defeat to Manchester City saw the Gunners relinquish top spot.

After the loss, boss Mikel Arteta claimed it had made him even more certain his side can win the title.

To do so, they will have to get back on track pronto – starting at Villa Park this weekend.

Thomas Partey was a big miss in midfield against City after failing a late fitness test.

Asked for an update on the Ghanaian's fitness on Friday morning, Arteta said: "We have to assess him again today. He has some muscle discomfort and we have to see how he is."

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Should the 29-year-old not be fit to start, Jorginho could deputise for him again alongside Granit Xhaka.

Arsenal are yet to win since the Italian joined from Chelsea on deadline day.

Further forward, Gabriel Jesus is nearing a return from injury, having been out since the World Cup.

But Arteta confirmed he's not yet ready to play, although he had better news regarding Jesus' fellow recent absentee Emile Smith Rowe.

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He said: "Emile is training today and if he’s fine, he’ll be in the squad. Gabi is still not there."

Aaron Ramsdale will continue between the sticks, despite having needed treatment during the City match.

William Saliba and Gabriel will likely line up ahead of the stopper, although Arteta could make changes at full-back.

Ben White could be restored at right-back after Takehiro Tomiyasu's mid-week mistake, although the Japanese may be given a chance to redeem himself.

Oleksandr Zinchenko will probably continue at left-back, although the introduction of Kieran Tierney could freshen things up.

Should Partey not make it, Jorginho will partner Xhaka in the middle of the park.

On the ex-Chelsea man, Arteta said: "He’s really good – he’s come into the team and earned the respect of everybody.

"You see his leadership, his understanding of the game, how he’s coaching everybody. I think he had a really good game."

Leandro Trossard came on for Gabriel Martinelli during the City match, and Arteta was asked if the former Brighton ace is nearing a start.

The Gunners boss responded: "He’s had an impact every time he’s been on the field, so he’s an option."

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Skipper Martin Odegaard will continue to start over Fabio Vieira, even if Emile Smith Rowe is deemed fit.

Bukayo Saka will line up on the right flank, with Eddie Nketiah continuing to deputise for Gabriel Jesus down the middle.

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