Nicolas Pepe is back from suspension and in line to start while Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah could also feature as Arsenal get ready to take on Southampton.
Arsenal will be aiming to end their five-game winless streak in the Premier League when they welcome a high-flying Southampton outfit to the Emirates on Wednesday.
Mikel Arteta and his players are under immense pressure following the recent run of results in the Premier League and the manager admitted that they had to face the situation head-on and try to find a way out of it in his pre-match press conference.
Every word from this morning's pre-match press conference.
🗞 The boss previews #ARSSOU 👇
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) December 15, 2020
“We have to face it being brave, fighting and no one giving up. It’s not time to hide, it’s time to put your face and your body on the line and at the moment, I’m sorry, but we have to take the bullets. Put my head down, work harder and try to do things better and improve. It’s how we have to approach this,” he said.
There are no fresh injury concerns heading into what is a must-win clash against Southampton for Arsenal. Only Thomas Partey remains sidelined for the game. However, the Gunners will have to make do without regular starters Hector Bellerin and Granit Xhaka, both of whom are suspended.
There will be some changes made to the lineup that lost to Burnley at the weekend. No alterations will be made in goal, though, with Bernd Leno the undisputed starter. Ainsley Maitland-Niles should replace the suspended Bellerin at right-back, but there is no looking past Kieran Tierney for the left-back spot.
Gabriel Magalhaes has been a permanent fixture at the heart of the Arsenal defence since arriving in the summer and that is not likely to change. However, he could be set for a change of partners, with David Luiz, who has recovered from his head injury and is back in training, in line to replace Rob Holding against Southampton.
With Granit Xhaka out of the game, Arteta should call upon on-loan Real Madrid star Dani Ceballos to start in the midfield double pivot alongside Mohamed Elneny. There could be a change in the No. 10 slot as well, with Joe Willock, who has impressed in the Europa League this term, coming in for the ineffective Alexandre Lacazette.
There should be alterations in the wide attacking roles as well against Southampton as Willian, who has been quite toothless in the final third, likely to make way for Nicolas Pepe. The Ivorian is returning from a three-match ban and will be aiming to make an impact on Wednesday.
Bukayo Saka could be given a breather here, with the youngster making way for fellow academy product Eddie Nketiah, although the 23-year-old will slot in as the centre-forward, with misfiring Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang moving out to the left wing.
Arsenal Predicted XI: Leno; Maitland-Niles, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney; Ceballos, Elneny; Pepe, Willock, Aubameyang; Nketiah