LONDON (Sporting Alert) — New signing Gabriel Paulista starts on the bench for Arsenal in today’s English Premier League clash against Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium.
Paulista was tipped to make his debut from the start, but manager Arsene Wenger has decided to ease the defender into the setup.
In Arsenal team news, Wenger made five changes to the side that beat Brighton & Hove Albion 3-2 in the FA Cup a week ago, with Mesut Ozil amongst the starters.
On form midfield player Santi Cazorla comes in for Tomas Rosicky, Francis Coquelin replaces Mathieu Flamini, while Per Mertesacker and Hector Bellerin take the spots of Kieran Gibbs and Calum Chambers.
Wenger has also decided to go with David Ospina in the goal, which means that Wojciech Szczesny is back on the bench.
Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud also start this contest for Arsenal, who will be hoping for a win that would see them closing the gap in the race for a Champions League spot.
Forward Alexis Sanchez remains out for the Gunners with a hamstring problem with forward Danny Welbeck also unavailable.
Meanwhile, Aston Villa named signing Scott Sinclair to the bench, as manager Paul Lambert makes two changes from the team that beat Bournemouth in the FA Cup. Sinclair joins Villa on loan from Manchester City and has been handed the No. 9 shirt.
Fabian Delph replaces Leandro Bacuna and Brad Guzan is back in the goal.
Kieran Richardson, Tom Cleverley, Christian Benteke and Andreas Weimann all start as well for Villa, with Gabriel Agbonlahor, Ashley Westwood and Aly Cissokho amongst the substitutes.
“The last week was really positive. Fabian Delph signing a new contract is massive for us, and Carles Gil coming in has been excellent. He has brought everyone up a whole level,” Aston Villa boss Lambert told Sky Sports
“Scott Sinclair has not played too much football but has settled in pretty quickly, he is on the bench, and the bench is looking really strong.
“Last week the win gave everybody a lift. There has certainly been a different feeling in training. I know we’ve won here before but it is a hard place to come.
“We go into every game to try and win and we’ll certainly give them a game.”
England national manager Roy Hodgson and his assistant Gary Neville are both at the Emirates for this game.
Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Ramsey, Walcott, Cazorla, Ozil, Giroud. Subs: Szczesny, Gibbs, Gabriel, Rosicky, Flamini, Chambers, Akpom.
Aston Villa: Guzan, Hutton, Okore, Clark, Richardson, Delph, Gil, Sanchez, Cleverley, Benteke, Weimann. Subs: Given, Sinclair, Baker, Bacuna, Agbonlahor, Westwood, Cissokho.
Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)