Arsenal take on Southampton in the Premier League and Unai Emery will make changes to the side that beat Qarabag, with Aaron Ramsey and Laurent Koscielny set to start.
Arsenal will look to continue on their 22-game unbeaten run, aiming to win against a struggling Southampton side at St. Mary’s. Unai Emery will be making a host of changes to the side that beat Qarabag 1-0 at the Emirates, with a number of regulars set to return. Of the side that started on Thursday, only Alexandre Lacazette and Laurent Koscielny are expected to remain in the lineup.
Arsenal’s most significant problem going to St. Mary’s is a shortage of central defenders. Laurent Koscielny is the only recognised centre-half available for this clash, with the likes of Sokratis and Mustafi suspended after the duo receoved their fifth yellow card against Huddersfield last weekend. However, Emery can also call upon Nacho Monreal who has made a timely return from injury.
During his pre-game interview Emery provided an update about Koscielny, talking about his relief over the Frenchman’s return.
“It’s very important for us to have Laurent Koscielny back because he’s our captain, he has experience. He’s, for us, one important player in the group. Him coming back is very important for us because he’s been training with us for the past month. But we also need to start with him helping us on the pitch in the games, and it’s very important for us that he can play with us.”
Meanwhile, Aaron Ramsey, who sat out the last two games with a knock received against Manchester United is also back in full training, with Emery expected to name the Welshman in his starting lineup against the Saints. That move could see Mesut Ozil being pushed back to the bench.
Bernd Leno is expected to take his position in the Arsenal goal, while Hector Bellerin, Koscielny, Monreal, and Sead Kolasinac are all likely to line up in the defensive unit. Emery does have an option in Stephan Lichtsteiner for central defence, although he would likely stick with Monreal and Koscielny there.
Lucas Torreira’s impressive form means his place in central midfield is guaranteed, as is Granit Xhaka’s. The duo will continue to be Arsenal’s first-choice central midfielders, with Matteo Guendouzi set for a place on the bench. And, as iterated earlier, Ramsey could be preferred to start against Southampton over Mesut Ozil in the No. 10 role.
As for the wide forwards, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will shift his place from the central striker and come back to the left side of the attack. On the right, Alex Iwobi will be in contention with Henrikh Mkhitaryan for a spot in the team, although the could get the nod. Alexandre Lacazette is set to retain his place as Arsenal’s central striker against Southampton.