Villa have been the surprise package and sit fifth in the table after their blistering start while Southampton are starting to hit their stride with no defeats in their last four.
Sportsmail’s Jeorge Bird will provide live EPL coverage and all the build-up from the intriguing Premier League clash, which kicks-off at 12pm.
Valencia walk-off in match with Cadiz after alleged racist remark to Mouctar Diakhaby
Valencia players walked off the pitch during their game with Cadiz after an alleged racist remark was aimed at defender Mouctar Diakhaby.
The incident happened 30 minutes into the game as Diakhaby had a clash with Cadiz defender Juan Cala which saw him receive a yellow card.
Diakhaby was visibly angry at something that was was then said as Cadiz defender Fali and one of his own teammates then held him back.
Valencia defender Mouctar Diakhaby was unhappy following a comment by a Cadiz player
Diakhaby explained his position to the referee before deciding to walk off the pitch
The match was suspended after 30 minutes when the Valencia players walked off the pitch
The referee then asked for an explanation from Diakhaby before the defender then walked off the pitch just moments later, followed by the rest of his teammates.
Sportsmail understands that Diakhaby was left devastated following the incident but Valencia have said that he asked his teammates to return to the field to complete the match.
It’s believed the team would have had to forfeit the game 3-0 if they decided to not complete the match.
The rest of the Valencia players believe Diakhaby and showed this by walking off the pitch together.
Valencia players would return to the pitch on the backing of Diakhaby who did not continue
Valencia players did return onto the pitch without Diakhaby, as the club gave a statement on their official Twitter account denouncing any kind of racism.
They said: ‘The team have held a meeting and decided to continue the game, in order to fight for the honour of the club, but denounce racism of any kind.
‘We offer our complete backing to @Diakhaby_5.
‘The player, who had received a racial insult, requested that his teammates return to the pitch. WE SUPPORT YOU MOUCTAR.’
Both sets of players were given five minutes to warm up before resuming the game, while Diakhaby opted to watch on from the stands.
Southampton vs Burnley – Premier League: Live score, lineups and updates
A must-win battle for both sides is set to unfold on the south coast this afternoon, as Southampton and Burnley each look to kick-start a period of form following the international break.
Each locked on 33 points after 29 matches played so far this season, not even goal difference separates the two sides heading into today’s showdown at St Mary’s.
Sean Dyche‘s men arrive having won their last fixture prior to the international break, while Southampton have just one victory in their last six league matches.
Mikel Arteta confirms Arsenal dealt double injury blow with Kieran Tierney and David Luiz sidelined
After watching his team’s season take another lurch for the worse, the under-fire Arteta was forced to concede that the severity of both issues is unknown.
Tierney picked up a knee injury during the clash at the Emirates, while Luiz, who sat out of the fixture entirely, may even miss a month.
Mikel Arteta confirmed Arsenal have been dealt a double injury blow after their Liverpool loss
With the scores locked level heading into the half-time break, Tierney was taken off after clearly taking a blow in a challenge with James Milner.
The flying Scotland international, in a more positive indication for Arsenal, was able to walk down the tunnel on his own, however.
‘He felt something in his knee and he was in pain,’ Arteta admitted in his post-match press conference. ‘He will be injured but we don’t know for how long.’
Kieran Tierney limped off with a knee problem and it is currently unclear how long he will miss
Luiz, meanwhile, suffered his own knee issue during the international break – and Arteta has insisted the club will not rule out any potential treatment options.
‘There are a few possibilities,’ Arteta added. ‘We are talking with the docs to make the right decision. It looks like he could be out for a few weeks.
‘It will depend on the decision that we will take.’
It is unclear whether Tierney will be able to feature in Arsenal’s crunch Europa League quarter-final fixture against Slavia Prague on Thursday.
Scotland international Tierney was able to make his own way off the pitch just before half-time
David Luiz also sustained a knee issue and Arteta said the centre back may be out for a month
Luiz is certain to be missing, though, and may even see his campaign brought to an early end depending on his recovery.
Arsenal may slip further back into mid-table obscurity this weekend with Aston Villa able to leapfrog them into ninth spot.
Their quest for European football was dealt a knockback by the champions – who cruised home after Diogo Jota’s brace and a further effort from Mohamed Salah.
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