Arsenal face Southampton away from home on Thursday, looking to pick up their first points since the return of football.

Eddie Nketiah of Arsenal is challenged in the penalty box by Jeremy Ngakia of West Ham United an incident which was later checked by VAR during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and West Ham United at Emirates Stadium on March 07, 2020 in London, United Kingdom.
LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 07: Eddie Nketiah of Arsenal is challenged in the penalty box by Jeremy Ngakia of West Ham United an incident which was later checked by VAR during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and West Ham United at Emirates Stadium on March 07, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)

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.

Goalkeeper

Arsenal's Argentinian goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez catches the ball despite pressure from Brighton's English defender Dan Burn during the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Arsenal at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on June 20, 2020. (Photo by Mike Hewitt / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by MIKE HEWITT/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez catches the ball on June 20, 2020. (Photo by MIKE HEWITT/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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.

Defence

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - JUNE 20: Hector Bellerin of Arsenal appeals to referee Martin Atkinson during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Arsenal FC at American Express Community Stadium on June 20, 2020 in Brighton, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
BRIGHTON, ENGLAND: Hector Bellerin of Arsenal appeals to referee Martin Atkinson on June 20, 2020. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

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.

Midfield

Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka receives medical treatment on June 17, 2020. (Photo by DAVE THOMPSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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.

Forwards

Arsenal's French-born Ivorian midfielder Nicolas Pepe (3R) scores during the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Arsenal at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on June 20, 2020. (Photo by Richard Heathcote / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by RICHARD HEATHCOTE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Arsenal winger Nicolas Pepe (3R) scores on June 20, 2020. (Photo by RICHARD HEATHCOTE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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.

Predicted Lineup

BuildLineup.com
BuildLineup.com