Premier League giants Arsenal will be looking to get things back on track in terms of their league position when they are visited at the Emirates by struggling Southampton. The Saints will be all fired up for this tie as they’re coming into this one on the back of an unfortunate defeat to Everton at the St.Mary’s Stadium the last time out.
The Gunners will be eager to ensure that there is progress being made, especially after last weekend’s gutting defeat at the hands of Leicester City. Despite a slightly more spirited display than usual from the Arsenal players, they weren’t able to break the Foxes down to any extent of the imagination – further casting major doubts on the Spanish manager’s immediate future.
The Gunners boast one of the shortest casualty lists in all of the Premier League as Granit Xhaka’s freezing-out looks to be fairly secure. Although the former captain will be eager to get back into first-team football, he is yet to be presented to the fans after the embarrassing event. Despite his tendency to make mistakes, the Swiss international was a solid presence in front of the defence.
Dani Ceballos is another player who could be a doubt for this fixture owing to a lingering thigh problem. Although his timely return probably won’t have too much of an impact on Emery’s squad selection for the weekend, he remains a good option for the Gunners to have on standby. Other than that, the Gunners stars are all fully fit and match-ready.
Predicted 3-4-1-2 Arsenal Lineup Vs Southampton
Although Unai Emery’s back three seemed to simply capitulate on a couple of occasions against Leicester City, the gaffer would’ve felt motivated about the way they held their shape for the majority of the match. With Southampton now set to visit the Emirates, things are only going to be easier at the back than it was last weekend.
Expect to see the English duo of Rob Holding and Calum Chambers operating out of of the heart of the defence, alongside Premier League veteran David Luiz. Between then, they form a considerably strong alliance that has the potential to work wonders for Unai Emery. Luiz is very much the commander of the back-line – often seen shouting instructions at his younger counterparts. While Sokratis has been one of the first names on the teamsheet under Emery, we believe Emery could give him a breather to try out another combination in defence.
The Gunners’ lack of options in the middle of the park is starting to hurt them quite badly at this point. Despite the summer acquisition of Dani Ceballos from Real Madrid, Emery has preferred to use Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi in the Spaniard’s place – a trend that looks like its only going to continue in coming weeks. Arsenal’s biggest beacons of hope in this challenging period are their two wing-backs Hector Bellerin and young Kieran Tierney, who are both expected to start.
Mesut Ozil is expected to retain his place in the matchday squad, following a slightly spirited display against the Foxes last time around. Ahead of him, the regular attacking duo of Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette complete the front-end of the Arsenal attack. Neither of them was able to impact their fixture against Leicester and will be looking to put things right as they return to action at the Emirates. Record signing Pepe is expected to come off from the bench in the second half.
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