After comfortably seeing off Coventry City in the FA Cup over the weekend, Arsenal shift their attention back to the Premier League and are now posed the difficult prospect of travelling to the St. Mary’s Stadium to face a tough Southampton side on Tuesday night.
The Gunners were given a difficult time by the Saints in the reverse fixture at the Emirates and it will surely be no different this time around as well. Currently on an eight game winning streak, Arsene Wenger’s men will be full of confidence heading into the game, but will certainly have to perform at their best in order to claim all three points.
Wojciech Szczesny was handed a well deserved rest against Coventry City overt the weekend and the Polish international should now retain his place in the starting line-up to replace back-up keeper Lukasz Fabianski between the sticks.
The impressive central defensive partnership of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker will start at the heart of the defence, while Bacary Sagna and Nacho Monreal should return to the starting line-up to replace Carl Jenkinson and Keiran Gibbs at the full-back positions. Captain Thomas Vermaelen is still doubtful due to a knee injury, but even if the Belgian is passed fit for the clash, he will most probably have to be content with a place on the bench.
Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky and Aaron Ramsey are all still recovering from various injury problems and the trio are unlikely to make a dramatic return to the starting line-up on Tuesday.
Mathieu Flamini and Santi Cazorla should make a return to the line-up after starting from the bench against Coventry, while Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere look set to retain their place in midfield, despite featuring for the full ninety minutes on the weekend.
It will be interesting to see if Wenger opts to hand Lukas Podolski a start or elects to give young Serge Gnabry an extended run in the team. The likes of Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain and Gedion Zelalem will also be pushing for a start.
Olivier Giroud has done a sterling job for the Gunners up front so far this season and is a certainty to lead the line for the Gunners, with Nicklas Bendtner making way for the Frenchman.
Szczesny; Monreal, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Sagna; Podolski, Wilshere, Flamini, Ozil, Cazorla; Giroud