Mesut Ozil Arsenal
Mesut Ozil is under pressure to perform for ArsenalReuters

After a horrendous performance against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, Arsenal will look to bounce back with a victory when they take on Aston Villa in the English Premier League on Saturday.

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The Gunners were pretty poor in midweek, outclassed by an enterprising Dortmund side, who could have easily won by a larger margin than the eventual 2-0 result. Quite a few of the Arsenal players, on that day, failed to show up, and Arsene Wenger will know his team cannot afford too many such off days.

The manager will hope his team are back to more like themselves when they pay a visit to Villa Park.

"I think the players are naturally determined to bounce back," Wenger said. "You always want to remind the players where we failed. We want to re-dress what wasn't done well. But we want to respond.

"We had a disappointing performance more than a defeat. We came out of Saturday's [2-2 draw against Manchester City] feeling that we had a very good performance and on Tuesday night we didn't. So it's important we come back.

"We have confidence in our strengths and we want to show that we can perform. It is always a test for us to go to Villa Park but we want to bounce back quickly and I'm sure we will."

Arsenal have perhaps been a little too predictable in their play, with most teams now clearly knowing how to play against them. The fact that Mesut Ozil has been played out of position has not helped either, with the club record signing coming for much criticism for his performances this season.

Wenger defended his player to the hilt when asked about his dire performances, but the best way to get Ozil back and firing again is to play him in the position behind the central striker, and not out wide.

However, with Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey playing strongly in that position ahead of the holding midfielder, one does wonder if Ozil has a place in the XI at the moment; because clearly, the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Joel Campbell or Lukas Podolski, or even Santi Cazorla, is a much better fit in the wider position than Ozil.

"What is Wilshere but basically a No 10? He played his whole life at No 10," said Wenger trying to explain the reason behind playing all of those central attacking players in the same XI. "Somebody had to go out there.

"Is it Wilshere, Ozil or Ramsey... nobody is really natural out wide. So you keep good players out or you try to get them together.

"It is [ambitious], but without ambition you cannot progress. We have that desire to play well altogether and I think we can really achieve it. We can have a fantastic team."

Arsenal will have to be at their absolute best to trump Aston Villa, who are riding on a wave of success at the moment, highlighted by the 1-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield last weekend.

Villa are second in the Premier League table with ten points from four matches, four points more than Arsenal have managed so far.

"I feel basically they are very tight defensively," said Wenger. "They have conceded only one goal since the start of the season and that's where they have improved a lot.

"Last year they conceded many goals and they now have a very hardworking midfield that protects them very well. They have [Tom] Cleverley who they just got on loan, they have Fabian Delph, Andreas Weimann, Kieran Richardson, and they work very hard in front of the defence."

Maybe that is something that Arsenal can learn, because too many times, especially against the big teams, they leave themselves too open for the counter-attack, leaving the defensive screener and the back two – because the full-backs have invariably bombed forward – with too much to do.

Arsenal will need to be wary of Villa's counter-attacks, with the pace of Weimann and Agbonlahor set to cause plenty of problems for their defence. However, if the Gunners can actually take the lead and push forward from there, rather than always chasing the game from a goal down, the second win of the Premier League could very well be theirs.

Team news: Aston Villa: Lambert will be without strikers Christian Benteke and Libor Kozak, while skipper Ron Vlaar is a doubt, after the defender missed the Liverpool win with a calf injury.

Arsenal: Wenger has plenty of players missing with Mathieu Debuchy, Nacho Monreal and Yaya Sanogo joining Olivier Giroud on the sidelines. Calum Chambers, though, is fit after recovering from tonsillitis, while Mathieu Flamini is also available.

Expected lineups: Aston Villa: Guzan; Hutton, Senderos, Vlaar, Cissokho; Delph, Cleverley, Westwood; Weimann, Agbonlahor, Richardson.

Arsenal: Szczesny; Chambers, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Arteta; Sanchez, Ramsey, Wilshere, Ozil; Welbeck.

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