After back to back defeats in the Premier League for the first time since August, Arsenal have to bounce back when Southampton come to town on Saturday.
The Gunners suffered a 2-1 defeat to Everton this week in what was a game we threw away. We were woeful from the start, but we somehow took the lead. Sadly, we couldn’t hold on to it.
Mikel Arteta was not a happy man and he will want a reaction against the Saints. However, he could be without four players – two of whom are good enough to start.
Arsenal v Southampton: Injuries could rule out four players
Arsenal received a massive boost in our last game as Granit Xhaka returned to action. The Swiss international was a month ahead of schedule and his return is a huge positive for us. However, there are a couple of concerning injuries as well ahead of Saturday’s clash.
Emile Smith Rowe missed the game against Everton due to a tight groin. Arteta said after the game that the young Englishman was in pain, which is a concern ahead of this weekend’s game.
Another big worry for Arsenal is Gabriel Martinelli’s injury. The Brazilian started at Goodison Park but hobbled off the pitch with what looked like a hamstring injury in the second half. It’s unlikely the he’ll be back for the game on Saturday.
The two others who are expected to miss the game are Bernd Leno and Sead Kolasinac. The former, like Smith Rowe, has a tight groin, while the Bosnian is out with an ankle injury. Neither of them were going to start anyway, which makes their injuries less concerning.
Selection dilemma for Arteta
If Martinelli and Smith Rowe are ruled out of the game against Southampton due to their injuries, Arteta will have a few tough decisions to make. The left-wing spot will be up for grabs and the Arsenal boss has a few options.
Arteta could bring Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang back into the side and start him on the left flank. Nicolas Pepe, who has played on the left before, could also be an option.
Bukayo Saka could also be asked to switch flanks to accommodate Pepe, or Eddie Nketiah, after his impact off the bench against Everton, could get the nod from the start.
It will be interesting to see what Arteta does with his side on Saturday. Smith Rowe returning will be a massive boost for us, but if he’s still out, we’ll have to find a way to win without him.