LONDON (Sporting Alert) — Lukas Podolski starts on the bench today for Arsenal, while Christian Benteke leads the attack for Aston Villa in their opening English Premier League game at Emirates Stadium.
Arsene Wenger is without midfielder Mikel Arteta, who has been ruled out with an injury, so Aaron Ramsey is expected to fill that role, with Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also starting.
Olivier Giroud leads the frontline, with summer recruit Yaya Sanogo starting on the bench.
Benteke, meanwhile, was in top form last season and Aston Villa’s success in keeping him from the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham this summer will be a bonus for manager Paul Lambert.
The Belgian start with Gabriel Agbonlahor in the attack, with Fabian Delph and Andreas Weimann also in the starting team.
Summer signing Antonio Luna start in defence, while fellow new recruits Jores Okore and Aleksandar Tonev on the bench.
Arsenal v Aston Villa
Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Ramsey, Rosicky, Walcott, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Giroud
Subs: Podolski, Cazorla, Fabianski, Sanogo, Jenkinson, Frimpong, Gnabry
Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Baker, Luna, El Ahmadi, Westwood, Delph, Weimann, Benteke, Agbonlahor
Subs: Okore, Clark, Bacuna, Helenius, Steer, Bowery, Tonev
Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)