Mikel Arteta may bring Eddie Nketiah into the Arsenal lineup, while Granit Xhaka will continue at left-back against Southampton.
Mikel Arteta will make one change from the last game as Arsenal target a victory in the game against Southampton at St. Mary’s on Saturday. After feeling under the weather, Alexandre Lacazette was absent for a few days and missed Friday’s training sessions.
The Arsenal boss is hoping for Lacazette to be availability, although it looks doubtful. Eddie Nketiah could get his chance to start against Southampton and make a necessary impact. The Gunners do not have another out-and-out striker in the squad, but Gabriel Martinelli can also play the role.
Mikel Arteta refused to blame the left-back spot as problematic and hinted at playing Granit Xhaka there. “When I’m convinced that I’m going to do something that’s best for the team, then it’s going to be judged on whether you win or you don’t win. The problem I guarantee was not Granit playing as a full back,” Arteta told the press.
Meanwhile, the Arsenal manager reiterated his belief in Nuno Tavares, insisting this is a learning period for the Portuguese youngster. He added, “With Nuno? No. Not belief. He needs to go through periods like I can show you examples of any player that has been in this squad.”
“Not always good periods, difficult periods. But those difficult periods are the best moments to learn and to overcome and to have the ability afterwards to develop into a much better player.”
Albert Sambi Lokanga will keep his place in the middle of the park, while Arteta will hope Martin Odegaard gets comfortable reprising the no. 8 role and form a partnership with Lokonga between now and the end of the campaign. Arteta seems likely to keep his midfield system intact for a while, as the Belgian has been given keys to the central areas.
Cedric Soares, Ben White, and Gabriel Magalhaes will continue to form the defensive line alongside Xhaka, with Aaron Ramsdale settled between the post. Lacazette will be replaced by Nketiah as the central striker. Arteta remains hopeful to have a fluid system with most of his attackers, barring Nicolas Pepe, on the pitch.
Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka are the choices to be the wide attackers, while Arteta has called up Under-23 striker Mika Beireth to train with the squad. The Dane is likely to make the matchday squad if Lacazette is absent altogether.
Predicted Arsenal XI: Ramsdale; Cedric, White, Gabriel, Xhaka; Odegaard, Lokonga; Saka, Smith-Rowe, Martinelli; Nketiah