Arsenal boss Arteta’s radical XI to beat Chelsea with Martinelli up front and Holding in

Arteta: Southampton defeat has left players feeling ‘really down’

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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta may ring the changes as he looks to end a run of three consecutive defeats against Chelsea tonight. Arsenal’s form must change quickly if they are to finish in the Premier League top four after losses to Crystal Palace, Brighton and Southampton. Express Sport picks a starting XI Arteta could go with at Stamford Bridge to change his side’s fortunes.

Goalkeeper – Ramsdale

Arsenal need Aaron Ramsdale back to his early-season best. The England international has looked slightly more shaky of late and hasn’t kept a clean sheet in any of his last four matches.

The Gunners have lost all four of those games but Arteta is unlikely to bring in Bernd Leno for such a big game. Ramsdale needs to be a calming presence behind a defence lacking a bit of confidence.

Defence – White, Holding, Gabriel, Cedric

It could be backs to the wall stuff for a lot of the match for Arteta’s side, so there may be a couple of tweaks at the back. Rob Holding hasn’t started a Premier League game since January 23 but has been a vital late substitute at times this season.

He could be drafted in to partner Gabriel in the middle of defence, with Ben White shifting to right-back. The £50million signing from Brighton has played in that position a couple of times this season.

He would provide a less-attacking option but Arsenal need to ensure they stay in the game before potentially pushing for a win in the second half. Cedric Soares could move to left-back if Arteta does not want to stick with Nuno Tavares following Saturday’s loss.

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Midfield – Elneny, Xhaka; Odegaard

Mohamed Elneny hasn’t played a single minute for Arsenal since New Year’s Day but could be drafted in for this one. Thomas Partey’s absence is a big blow for Arteta and Albert Sambi Lokonga has struggled to step into his place in the last two matches.

Elneny could partner Granit Xhaka, who should start in midfield again following his experimental half at left-back against Brighton earlier this month. Martin Odegaard has been disappointing of late but skippered the side at St Mary’s on Saturday and has scored the only goal in Arsenal’s last three matches.

Attack – Pepe, Martinelli, Saka

Arsenal’s record signing Nicolas Pepe has not started a Premier League match since last October. Arteta said the winger returned a “different” player from the Africa Cup of Nations in February.

He has barely featured since but now is the time Arteta put faith in the Ivorian. Alexandre Lacazette missed Saturday’s match after testing positive for Covid and may not be ready to start this one.

Eddie Nketiah didn’t quite pass his test so Gabriel Martinelli could start up front at the scene of his famous goal from 2020. Bukayo Saka would likely start on the left if Pepe does get the nod to start.

Arsenal XI Arteta could pick vs Chelsea in full: Ramsdale, White, Gabriel, Cedric; Elneny, Xhaka; Pepe, Odegaard, Saka; Martinelli.

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