The torn quadricep injury to Mikel Arteta, and the continued absence of Thomas Vermaelen has resulted in Arsenal’s German center-half taking up the roll of captain for Saturday afternoon’s game at the Emirates Stadium in London.
Speaking in the pre-match press conference for the Arsenal website, (registration required) Arsene Wenger also confirmed he was unable to say when Arteta would return. Arsenal are already suffering from injuries, with Sanga uncertain from an injury sustained in his international game for France, and Monreal also unavailable what the physio room website describes as a back injury, although Wenger did confirm he is on his way back to fitness.
For Aston Villa this can only mean good news, as much to their consternation, they have also been obliged to honor a rearranged fixture with the team who are many people’s favourites to win the league this year, Chelsea, only 4 days after the Arsenal match, which in turn is then followed swiftly by a visit from a revitalised Liverpool side. Two away games against the London giants, followed by Steven Gerrard and Co. in the first 3 games of the season is the kind of start nightmares are made of, and so, anything which weakens the Arsenal squad will doubtless be greeted with enthusiasm.
Arsenal won the fixture last season 2-1, with two goals from Cazorla, who himself is as yet unassessed to play, having been out on international duty with Spain.