Arsenal vs Southampton: 5 key players to avoiding fiery tailspin

Arsenal, Emi Martinez (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Arsenal, Emi Martinez (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images) /
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Arsenal, Emi Martinez
Arsenal, Emi Martinez (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images) /

Arsenal’s situation isn’t getting any help recently, but they have the chance to change that against Southampton. Here are five key players for the match.

Sure, the title of this article is a little facetious. After seeing far too many headlines barking about how Arsenal are headed in a downward spiral, I took a few liberties in ramping that up a bit. Forget the downward spiral, we’re in a full-on fiery tailspin.

Not really. In reality, we just need a gut check, and Southampton is an excellent candidate for just that. Like always, they aren’t in the relegation battle, they’ve got nothing to play for. This is the kind of match that can give the Gunners the lift they need to remember that Mikel Arteta is in charge and there is plenty to be optimistic about.

Of course, the headlines after the win will make way too many references to flat-track bullies, but hey, cross that bridge when we get there.

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In the meantime, let’s talk about what needs to get done against Southampton to come away with a win, and to do that, we’re starting with our five key players. The five guys who will determine whether we sink or swim against the Saints.

We start with No. 5.

5. Emi Martinez

Emi Martinez has been clamoring for his opportunity for years now. But that opportunity looked farther and farther away the more that Bernd Leno played. Leno is elite. He’s among the best in the world. He single-handedly keeps us in some matches and single-handedly keeps potential dumpster fires contained.

Emi Martinez did a great job filling in against Brighton, but the high of that adrenaline will be put to the test against Southampton when he’ll be out there from the start. He’ll be tasked with spending 90 minutes playing conclusive and no-nonsense football because if I know Arsenal, I know that the opportunities will be presented to Southampton and, chances are, Martinez will have to come in in the clutch.

I stopped including Leno on my key player lists because I knew he was always up for the job. Let’s hope Martinez never has to be moved up the list.

On to No. 4.