Arsenal face Southampton away from home on Thursday, looking to pick up their first points since the return of football.
Arsenal haven’t exactly had the best first week back in action. Near countless injuries, two defeats and just one well-taken goal from Nicolas Pepe are all they have to show for trips to Manchester and Brighton.
They really need to get back to winning ways now, starting with another away game against Southampton. Let’s have a look at our predicted lineup for the clash.
Despite the good news about Bernd Leno’s injury, he’ll still probably miss the rest of the season. It’s Emi Martinez’s time to shine in the number one spot, with Matt Macey the most likely backup. I’d certainly expect Martinez to start this one.
It’s starting to become a question of just picking whoever’s left for the back four.
David Luiz is serving a suspension, Sokratis is only just back in training, Calum Chambers is out long-term, Pablo Mari too and Cedric Soares won’t return until after this weekend.
That leaves Rob Holding and Shkodran Mustafi at centre-back, with Hector Bellerin at right-back. The only wiggle room is at left-back, where Kieran Tierney should come in for Sead Kolasinac.
The only real alternative option is playing Tierney at centre-back, dropping one of Holding and Mustafi and starting Kolasinac on the left. Personally, I don’t see that happening.
After that, you’re looking at youth players. Zech Medley made the squad at the weekend, but he’ll probably make substitute appearances before getting starts.
Matteo Guendouzi escaped a ban and Granit Xhaka returned from injury in the last few days, in a couple of pieces of positive news for the team. If Xhaka is available, I’d expect him to start the match, Arsenal need him.
With Dani Ceballos extending his loan in the short-term, he’s eligible to feature alongside Xhaka. Lucas Torreira is still out, and Mesut Özil is waiting for his first minutes of the restart.
It’s probably best to give Guendouzi a break after Saturday, and Bukayo Saka is in good form. So I’d expect him to get the third spot. Joe Willock and Ainsley Maitland-Niles are alternative options.
Gabriel Martinelli is out, potentially for the next few months. After Alexandre Lacazette drew a blank at the weekend, Eddie Nketiah may well come back into the team up front.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe are probably Arsenal’s biggest goal threats at the moment, so it’s hard to see either of them dropping out. Reiss Nelson is the most likely to come in if either of them do.