After progressing to the last-16 of the Europa League in midweek, Arsenal return to Premier League action on Sunday, hosting Southampton at the Emirates Stadium.
Thanks to that victory over BATE Borisov, Arsenal don’t have to put all their eggs in the Premier League basket just yet. The Europa League still provides a route to Champions League qualification, but Unai Emery will surely push for a top-four domestic finish in case that doesn’t work out.
With Manchester United playing Liverpool and Chelsea taking the weekend off for the League Cup final, Arsenal have a fantastic opportunity to get themselves back into fourth against the Saints. They’ll be wary of their opponents after losing the reverse fixture 3-2, though.
The Gunners have a game every weekend and midweek from now until the international break at the end of March, so Emery is likely to rotate a bit from game to game. Let’s have a look at our predicted lineup for this one.
There are a couple of tough choices for Unai Emery to make in midfield. Assuming the head coach goes with a sitting midfield pair and a number 10, as he did against Borisov, Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi and Granit Xhaka are all available to play the two deeper midfield roles.
Torreira was left out of the starting eleven on Thursday, so it seems pretty likely he’ll come in to give one of the other two players a rest. Guendouzi only played 60 minutes in midweek, so he’s most likely to take up the other spot, particularly as Xhaka has only recently returned from injury.
Emery has a similar dilemma in the number 10 position, with both Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Özil available. It did seem pretty telling that Ramsey wasn’t brought on at any point in the Borisov tie though, particularly after he recently announced his summer departure from the club.
Even though Özil just played 90 minutes on Thursday, we predict he’ll be given another chance to prove himself this weekend.
Click ‘Next’ for Forwards and the full Predicted Starting XI