After bowing out of the FA Cup with a tame 1-0 defeat to Southampton on Saturday afternoon, Arsenal have the chance to exact immediate revenge when they travel back to St Mary’s tonight.
Mikel Arteta rang the changes for the cup clash against the Saints, seemingly indicating that the Gunners’ priority this season remains the Premier League.
The north Londoners have built up an impressive run of form in recent weeks, with four wins and a draw in their last five league games, but they’ll know that Southampton away from home present a very tricky test – as they saw at the weekend.
Arteta will surely recall a number of his first-team stars for Tuesday night’s game, and with that in mind, below is a look at how the Gunners might line up for the trip to the south coast.
In goal, Bernd Leno will keep his place in between the sticks despite the recent arrival of Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan on loan until the end of the Premier League season.
There may be changes in front of him, however, with Gabriel looking shaky in his first start since being forced to quarantine – the Brazilian was the man who inadvertently diverted the ball into the back of the net for Southampton’s winner on Saturday.
Hector Bellerin could also drop out, with Cedric moving back over to the right-hand side, and the Gunners will be hoping Kieran Tierney can shake off a calf problem to start at left-back.
In midfield, Granit Xhaka should start once more, whilst Thomas Partey is likely to be recalled to the starting line-up after being named on the bench for the FA Cup game.
Further forward, Nicolas Pepe and the 70-cap Willian are likely to be dropped after their respective displays against the Saints, with the Gunners’ young guns of Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka coming back in.
Willian, in particular, has been a disaster of a signing thus far for the Gunners, with no goals whatsoever for his new club, and his last assist coming in a 2-1 defeat to Wolves back in late November.
And with captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang confirmed to be out, Gabriel Martinelli should start on the left-hand side, with Alexandre Lacazette returning up front.
Predicted XI: Leno; Cedric, Holding, Luiz, Tierney; Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Smith Rowe, Martinelli; Lacazette.