The Covid football hiatus means we get another chance at Premier League redemption pretty quickly after our soul-sapping loss to Brighton.
Two games – two losses, but in entirely different fashion. Well on paper anyway.
The scoreline was very different, and we should definitely have held on against the Gulls for at least a point – but our exertions were very similar.
We looked lackadaisical, there was none of the signature high pressing and desire that Arteta demands. And we paid for that in a big way by crawling home with zero points and our top four dreams up in smoke.
It’s entirely deserved too, and now we face a Southampton side who are more than capable of doling out a lesson to us – and this is something we must face up to.
Ralph Hassenhuttl has his side play decent football but can also mix it when they want to. We need to put in the effort and simply, want it more than them.
It really does come down to that. Against City and Brighton, we didn’t and we got precisely nothing.
Arteta is seething with his players and some of them will be playing for their future.
Let’s see who shows up.
Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira both took part in full-contact training, but the Uruguayan will again not be ready for this game. Xhaka however, should be able to play some part.
Cedric Soares is nearing full fitness and Sokratis could be available, but the Portuguese full-back is still some way short.
Gabriel Martinelli suffered a nasty injury in training and will miss the rest of the season and beyond , which is a big blow.
What isn’t such bad news is that David Luiz is still suspended. Who will play in defence with Pablo Mari out as well? It leaves Mustafi and Rob Holding as the two fit contenders.
There could also be a shuffle too. With Xhaka fit again, Guendouzi could be benched, with Arteta keen on the Swiss star and Dani Ceballos together.
Joe Willock is also a shout to start, with Eddie Nketiah and Reiss Nelson pushing for recalls.
Player to Watch
Danny Ings is the main man, goals wise, but Redmond will give the biggest indicator if we are winning or losing the midfield battle.
If we are winning? Redmond will be unable to carry the ball forward as he will be starved of service.
If we are losing? Redmond will be the man feeding Ings.
How this could go
This could be a train wreck for Arsenal. If we show up in any way the same we did against City or Brighton, Hassenhuttl will be rubbing his hands together.
We need to build our performance on pressing Southampton, winning the ball high up and when not in possession, defending in numbers and tracking runs.
Without that, we will succumb to a third defeat in a row.
Southampton have quality everywhere, but we can get at them in the centre of defence. They don’t have a lot of pace and their central midfield will not be back in numbers. So if we can get the ball to Auba facing goal, he can run at them. Same goes for Saka too.
That means we need ammunition. Could Ozil be the difference?
The German has been a ghost since football returned. Our number ten can split lines for fun when in the side though. If we include him in the lineup then who gets dropped? Unless Arteta switches formations, and then that can get messy.
I don’t think our coach will do that. He will want our players to go back to basics. That will mean a formation they are comfortable with.
We all want our boys to win – but first and foremost – let us see some elbow grease.
Predicted lineup – Martinez, Bellerin, Mustafi, Holding, Tierney, Xhaka, Ceballos, Saka, Aubameyang, Pepe, Lacazette
Predicted Scoreline – 2-1 to The Arsenal
Think you can predict our lineup? Give it a whirl here.