Gabriel Magalhaes and Nicolas Pepe are likely to get the nod while Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe should be retained when Arsenal face Southampton in the FA Cup.
Arsenal will be aiming to progress further in the 2020/21 FA Cup when they lock horns with Southampton in the fourth round at St. Mary’s on Saturday afternoon.
Leading into the game, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta does not have a host of injury problems to deal with, with only two players – Dani Ceballos and Pablo Mari – unavailable due to calf injuries. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is fit and available though, as the manager confirmed in his pre-match presser, while also hinting at fielding a strong side.
“As far as I know, he [Aubameyang] is feeling very good. As strong as it [squad] can be. We will assess the players, who is fit to play, who has recovered, we have a few issues after the game as well so in the next two days we will see the best possible line up,” Arteta said.
Mat Ryan completed a loan move from Brighton & Hove Albion on the eve of the game and is unlikely to be involved on Saturday. Instead, first-choice goalkeeper Bernd Leno feature between the sticks against Southampton ahead of Runar Alex Runarsson.
There should be a couple of changes in the backline, though, with Hector Bellerin and Gabriel Magalhaes returning in place of Cedric and David Luiz. Rob Holding and Kieran Tierney, however, should hold on to their places at the centre and on the left side of the defence respectively.
Thomas Partey put in a brilliant performance in the last game against Newcastle United and should be retained, as Arteta looks to continue gather momentum after a six-game run without a defeat. There could be a change of partners for the Ghanaian, though, with Mohamed Elneny being called in for Granit Xhaka.
Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe were the stars of the show in the game versus Newcastle. Given the duo’s importance to this Arsenal side, Arteta is unlikely to leave them out for the cup tie against Southampton. However, there could be one tweak made though, with Saka moving to the left to accommodate Nicolas Pepe in the starting XI.
Up front, the fit and firing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should get the start to put together a goalscoring run after his brace against Newcastle last time out.
Arsenal Predicted XI: Leno; Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey, Elneny; Pepe, Smith Rowe, Saka; Aubameyang