Despite having won four of his last five Premier League games, Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal are still far from their target in terms of position in the league.
The Gunners currently sit in 11th place, seven points off the top four, showing that despite their recent resumption of league form, there is still a lot of work to do.
After making a number of changes for the FA Cup game against Southampton on Saturday, it was clear that Tuesday’s game was still the priority.
With Southampton likely to name most of the same players who took the pitch as recently as Saturday, it looks like an opportunity for Arsenal to take all three points and come back to victory. Here, 90 mins see who Arteta should start on the south coast.
Bernd Leno (GK) – The German is by far Arsenal’s best goalkeeper. Some of his saves have proven to be crucial in recent weeks and he is certainly one of the team’s game winners.
Hector Bellerin (RB) – The 25-year-old was substituted around 20 minutes from time in Saturday’s clash, possibly with a view to being available for this one. He was rested against Newcastle last Monday so should be cooler than Cedric, who played 90 minutes in those two matches.
Rob Holding (CB) – Has been in good shape lately and has recently been described by club hierarchy as one of Arsenal’s emerging leaders.
David Luiz (CB) – Should come back to the side after Gabriel’s comeback doesn’t go as planned.
Kieran Tierney (LB) – The more you watch Arsenal without him these days, the more you realize how important he is. Having had injury issues lately, resting him on the weekend was a wise move, but he has to come back for this one.
Granite Xhaka (CM) – It wasn’t great this weekend, but he still looked a lot better than his midfielder partner Mohamed Elneny. Remains half of Arsenal’s most balanced midfielder partnership and offers a good screen to the back four with his positional discipline.
Thomas Partey (CM) – A transformative midfielder who should just play whenever he’s available. Arteta made the decision to leave him on the bench this weekend – just one of the calls that made it clear that the Arsenal boss’s priority is still this.
Emile Smith-Rowe (AM) – Also rested on Saturday, the ‘Croydon De Bruyne’ has been key to Arsenal’s resurgence in recent times.
Bukayo Saka (RW) – Saka ended up playing the final 20 minutes at left-back on Saturday. He’s been extremely effective in the top three lately and his understanding with Smith Rowe means the two have to take the ball and shake things up in the final third.
Gabriel Martinelli (LW) – Should start if Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is still unavailable. Nicolas Pepe and Willian just did not measure up.
Alexandre Lacazette (ST) – Unable to make an impact on the game this weekend when he was introduced as a substitute, but his recent form has been impressive and his ability to bond with the front players around him makes him an exceptional center-forward Arsenal at the moment.