GOOD MORNING GUNNERS FANS
Arsenal could be without four players in January as the Africa Cup of Nations threatens to significantly impact several Premier League clubs.
The Gunners have a number of stars who look set to feature in the international tournament, which takes place between January 9 and February 6.
It is still being called the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations despite taking place in 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic pushing it back 12 months.
Gunners club captain and Gabon skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be the main miss for Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta heading into the new year.
But the Spanish coach is also expected to be without Ivory Coast man Nicolas Pepe, Ghanaian midfielder Thomas Partey and Egypt international Mohamed Elneny.
Meanwhile, Arteta reckons his team know just what to do to beat Aston Villa tonight.
He said ahead of the game: “We play at home. We know the type of game we need to play to beat them, and our focus is only that.
“If we play 4-3-3 the way we played the first 20 minutes [against Crystal Palace], we win the games.
“But if we start to play the way we played the following 20 minutes, it doesn’t work, because again, that is a transition game and we don’t have the players to do that when we play in that formation.”
Finally, Arteta insists he was never going to sell Emile Smith Rowe to Villa.
He added: “Any club has the right to make an enquiry about a player and if they believe they have the financial power to get him, they are entitled to make a bid.
“There was communication between clubs regarding Emile and we made it really clear he was not for sale.
“I was never worried he could leave because he is a big part of our future and what we’re trying to do as a club.
“He is really happy where he is and I’m delighted to have him in my team.”