Rosicky edges out Wilshere in our Arsenal XI v Aston Villa

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Having been bumped off the Premier League’s summit by Manchester City over the weekend, Arsenal will look to roar back with victory at their opening-day conquerors Aston Villa.

The Gunners are 4/9 favourites to win and retake top spot, with the hosts 6/1 to take all three points and the draw 10/3.

Arsenal-XI-v-Villa-13-1-14

Arsenal’s back five very much takes care of itself, especially with both Thomas Vermaelen and Kieran Gibbs still struggling with injuries.

Left-back Gibbs could return to the squad, having missed his side’s first two matches in 2014 with a calf injury, but Arsenal have only lost one top-flight match Nacho Monreal has been involved in this term and the Spaniard deserves to stay in the starting line-up.

Arsene Wenger is likely to set his team up in a fluid 4-2-3-1 formation and will rely on Mathieu Flamini’s ability to break down opposition charges against the counter-attacking Villans, while Mikel Arteta pings any loose balls forward.

Mesut Ozil will come back into the side, having started on the bench at home to Tottenham in the FA Cup, and although Tomas Rosicky prefers to be deployed through the middle, he will have to make way for the £42.5m man.

However, the Czech star was in lively form in the 2-0 win against Spurs, linking well with the rest of the midfield and grabbing the second goal, so he makes it onto the right-hand side ahead of Jack Wilshere and young winger Serge Gnabry.

Santi Cazorla keeps his perch on the left as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain may not yet be fit enough to even make the squad, never mind the starting line-up, and Wenger will be praying Olivier Giroud has recovered from the illness that kept him out of the clash with Tim Sherwood’s Lilywhites.

Now that youngster Chuba Akpom has gone out on loan to Brentford, Giroud is the only injury-free centre-forward left standing at the Emirates and his omission from the team sheet would leave Villa licking their lips ahead of this clash.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.