Predicted XI

Gabriel to return? - How Arsenal could line-up against Southampton

With the Gunners finding form in the league, Mikel Arteta will want the impressive results to continue, but the FA Cup will give fringe players a chance to play

8:13am on Friday 22nd January 2021
Cameron Smith

Arsenal are unbeaten in six games in all competitions ahead of an away trip to St Mary's in the FA Cup fourth round, and boss Mikel Arteta will be hoping his side can continue their fine form against Southampton.

Centre-half Gabriel has returned to first-team training after missing the last few games due to a positive Covid-19 test, and is expected to start on Saturday.

With Pablo Mari injured, partnering Gabriel may well be fellow Brazilian David Luiz, who has recently replaced Mari in the Premier League starting XI thanks to the Spaniard's injury.

Bernd Leno will be behind the pair, with Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson not likely to be trusted following his performance against Manchester City in the League Cup.

Kieran Tierney has been vital to Arsenal's recent attacking ingenuity, but Arteta will be wary of his recent injury, and Ainsley Maitland-Niles may take his place.

Hector Bellerin has been favoured in the league this campaign, but was rested against Newcastle on Monday night, so will come back in.

Arsenal face Southampton again in the Premier League on Tuesday night, so Arteta is unlikely to field his first-choice midfield or attack, so expect Mohamed Elneny and Joe Willock to once again be the midfield two in the cup.

Emile Smith-Rowe has been a revelation since his introduction into the team, but just as with Bukayo Saka, Arteta will need to preserve him for the league game; Willian, Nicolas Pepe and Gabriel Martinelli will need to grab their chance here if they want to force their way back into the Premier League preferred XI.

Eddie Nketiah has hardly featured all season, but his patience could be rewarded with a rare run-out against the Saints, with both Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang rested.

Arsenal vs Southampton - Football tactics and formations

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