Arsenal are hoping to continue their march in the FA when they play Southampton on Saturday. The Gunners are coming on the back of a morale-boosting 3-0 win over Newcastle United in their last match. Incidentally, they had also beaten the same opponent in their last round FA Cup fixture, and manager Mikel Arteta is hoping for a similar result this weekend.
Predicted Arsenal Lineup Vs Southampton
Arteta had made some interesting changes in the game against Newcastle United, notably giving Cedric Soares the nod ahead of Hector Bellerin. One can expect him to revert that change at right-back, though the same cannot be said for Kieran Tierney on the opposite flank.
Gabriel Magalhaes was on the bench in the last game, and with matches coming thick and fast, Arteta may consider giving David Luiz a breather. It essentially means that the new signing could renew his central defensive partnership alongside Rob Holding, with Pablo Mari struggling with a calf injury.
Bernd Leno, meanwhile, is the undisputed number one choice in between the sticks and should retain his place in goal ahead of new signing Runar Alex Runarsson this weekend.
Dani Ceballos remains a doubt for Saturday’s fixture with a calf problem. His fitness will be assessed ahead of this game, but it appears Arteta may consider Mohamed Elneny in midfield. It could not only provide a breather for Ceballos but also Thomas Partey, who was excellent in the win over Newcastle United.
Elneny should, therefore, renew his partnership with Granit Xhaka at the base of Arsenal’s 4-2-3-1, although the Gunners also have the option of Joe Willock, in case they need a bit more creativity and drive going forward.
Arteta could ring in the changes in the attacking unit, with Bukayo Saka likely to make way for Nicolas Pepe at right-wing. While Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should retain his place in the side, he is expected to be shifted into a central role, with Alexandre Lacazette dropping even deeper, almost as a number ten.
This little tactical manoeuvre could come at the expense of Emile Smith Rowe, who could be given a breather in the form of a substitute appearance late in the second half, although Arteta will be hoping that his services won’t be required this time.
Meanwhile, Aubameyang shifting into a central role should open up the opportunity for Gabriel Martinelli to receive a much-awaited start. It will be interesting to see what he and Pepe could provide on the flanks this weekend.