After a comfortable 4-0 win over Coventry City at the Emirates last Friday, Arsenal now return to Premier League action with a visit to Southampton. The Gunners will travel to the St Mary’s stadium for Tuesday night’s game, which again will be a vital game for the club.
Arsenal currently lead the Premier League title race by a single point with the halfway mark just passed. The Gunners have Chelsea and Manchester City hot on their tail, whilst Liverpool are still pushing for a spot amongst the top three and so they too cannot be ruled out. In the reverse fixture, Arsenal won 2-0 and it came at a time when our opponents were flying high amongst the top 5 in the Premier League. Things may have since changed and settled with the Gunners showing they are on top, however the game still won’t be an easy one, despite how tough the fixtures to come may be.
There is some positive injury news to come prior to this game with first choice left back Kieran Gibbs showing that he is fully fit by playing 90 minutes on Friday, whilst Alex Oxlade=Chamberlain too made a good return start. Lukas Podolski seems to be back in full swing, but it’s uncertain whether he will start or not. Furthermore, Thomas Vermaelen, Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey could return. However there is also the bad news which states that Jack Wilshere is likely to miss the tie.
As for Southampton they have no new real injury concerns; however they do have a few rifts going on at the seaside club, both within the management team and with the players. Their top striker has been banned from training with the club and is reportedly up for sale, so it’s unlikely he will feature. Whilst their Argentine manager Pochettino is also conscious over his future with the recent actions which have seen a managerial board split.
They also have major players Gaston Ramirez and Victor Wanyama out of the game, so that’ll be a boost for Arsenal.
Having played a relatively strong squad on Friday I’m sure a few names will be rested, with such a tough fixture list coming up. However I don’t expect a full squad overhaul with a line up looking quite similar to this:
Sagna Mertesacker Koscielny Gibbs
Gnabry Giroud Cazorla
With Wilshere out, it could open up a return for Ramsey, whilst Flamini is sure to take back his place. Chamberlain could start again against his old club but having just come back from injury, instead I think Wenger will choose Gnabry and Cazorla as his wingers for the game. It’s a game that I expect the Gunners to win, although not as comfortably as everyone thinks. I think they could give us a good test, however ultimately I think we should expect an Arsenal win and once again another weekend on top of the Premier league title.