Arsenal visit St. Mary’s on boxing day, for a fixture that could be exciting and one which Arsenal will be looking to win. With history not on their side as far as visits to St. Mary’s are concerned, the Gunners will be cautious and partially on the back foot.
The Gunners go into this game with more or less the same team that played Manchester City last week. Alexis Sanchez, who was expected to start against the Citizens, has had to rest a little longer than expected, while Club captain Mikel Arteta, who is close to returning, may not feature for this one as well.
Per Mertesacker will, therefore, resume his role as captain. Striker Danny Welbeck has suffered an injury setback and will now only return in Feb while fellow long-term absentees Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky are likely to return next month.
First choice midfield duo Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin will only return in March and April respectively, putting the onus of all responsibilities in the middle of the park on Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini.
For Southampton, their only major recent absentee, Maarten Stekelenburg, is likely to feature in the squad after recovering from a toe injury, while no other fresh injuries have commenced for the home side thus far.
Bellerin, Mertesacker Koscielny, Monreal
Walcott, Ozil, Campbell
Subs: Ospina, Chambers, Gabriel, Gibbs, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Iwobi
Southampton: Gazzaniga, Soares, Fonte, Van Dijk, Bertrand, Clasie, Wanyama, S.Davis, Mane, Tadic, Pelle
Subs: Stekelenburg, Yoshida, Long, Romeu, Martina, Ward- Prowse, Caulker, Juanmi, Ramirez, Targett
Can Arsenal get past the Saints?
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