Southampton travel to north London this Saturday to take on an Arsenal side who aren’t in the best shape, to say the least.
Unai Emery’s side currently sit sixth in the Premier League table – one place behind Sheffield United – having won just four of their 12 league games so far this season.
Having said that, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side would be sat bottom of England’s top-flight were it not for Norwich’s ineptitude. The Saints have won just twice this season, while also conceding the most goals in the division with 29 in 12 games.
Hasenhuttl, formerly of RB Leipzig, can’t seem to settle on a consistent starting XI, while also shoving square pegs in round holes on numerous occasions – the Austrian played Stuart Armstrong, a natural midfielder, at right wing-back last time out.
In that respect, here’s the XI that we think Hasenhuttl should put out against an Arsenal side with definite weaknesses…
To begin with, we feel that Hasenhuttl has to bring Ryan Bertrand straight back into the starting XI following the end of his three-match suspension, purely due to the lack of left-back options at the club.
On the other side, Cedric Soares, who recently revealed his intention to leave at the end of the season, played at left wing-back last time out, although Hasenhuttl must restore him to his natural position on the right – again due to the lack of quality options in that area.
Ahead of the back four, a defensive-midfield duo of Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Oriol Romeu should provide enough cover for the backline.
In attack, we outlined how Sofiane Boufal will cause Calum Chambers some problems on the left flank given how much the Arsenal man – a graduate of Southampton’s academy – struggled against another tricky winger in Wilfried Zaha a few weeks ago.
Danny Ings – the Saints’ top-scorer with seven goals – must start up top, while £15m summer signing Moussa Djenepo should be given the nod out on the right flank having scored two Premier League goals this season.
Nathan Redmond – who has started ten Premier League games this season – should be dropped having seemingly reverted to type this term, having scored just one goal amid a string of ineffective performances.
Both Boufal and Djenepo seem like much more of a handful for defenders to contend with, and for that reason, Hasenhuttl should take the former Norwich man out of the firing line and stick him on the bench.