Arsenal: Arteta insists he still has backing from players
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta will be forced into a couple of changes at least when Southampton visit the Emirates tonight. Arteta says he has the full backing of his players as the Gunners look for just their second win in nine Premier League matches. Express Sport have picked an XI we expect Arsenal to line up with against the Saints.
Goalkeeper – Leno
Bernd Leno is still yet to keep a clean sheet at home in the Premier League this season.
However, the German is all Arsenal have really in terms of top-flight experience in England.
Runar Alex Runarsson looked poor in the 4-2 Europa League win over Dundalk last week and isn’t ready to play Premier League football.
Leno could have a job on his hands keeping out the likes of Danny Ings and Che Adams.
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Defence – Cedric, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney
Arteta probably needs to switch to a back-three formation but he has been stubborn of late in trying to play with a more traditional four in defence – so will probably stick with that.
Cedric Soares could come in at right-back with Hector Bellerin suspended, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles another option.
The cut on David Luiz’s head is taking a while to heal so Rob Holding could keep his place alongside Gabriel in the middle of defence.
Kieran Tierney impressed going forward against Burnley and should keep his place at left-back.
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Midfield – Elneny, Ceballos, Willock
With Granit Xhaka suspended and Thomas Partey injured, it will be a different-looking Arsenal midfield.
Mohamed Elneny should keep his place after he was fortunate not to be sent off in the loss to Burnley.
Dani Ceballos should be drafted into the side in an attempt to bring more creativity.
And Joe Willock could get the nod as he provides a goalscoring threat with late runs into the box.
Attack – Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang
Nicolas Pepe is back from suspension so Arteta should bring him straight in.
The Ivory Coast star can score goals and Arsenal need as many players who can do that as possible in their XI.
Alexandre Lacazette missed a glorious chance against Burnley but Arteta could give him another opportunity ahead of the awaiting Eddie Nketiah.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang won’t be dropped, despite not scoring from open play since September.
Expected Arsenal XI vs Southampton in full: Leno; Cedric, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Elneny, Ceballos, Willock; Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang.
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