The FA Cup is back as Arsenal continue their defence of the trophy against Southampton on Saturday.
Following an impressive 3-0 win against Newcastle on Monday, the week has just got better and better for Arsenal fans. An agreement was finally made to terminate Sokratis’ contract and it appears talented Real Madrid youngster Martin Ødegaard is on his way to north London for a six-month loan. Goalkeeper Mat Ryan also joined the club on Friday in what was a deal that came from absolutely nowhere.
Our trip to St. Mary’s on Saturday represents the first of two games there in the space of four days – Arsenal will travel to the south coast again on Tuesday to face the Saints in the Premier League.
However, in the respective fixtures, it’s likely Mikel Arteta will field two very different sides. FA Cup matches give the Arsenal boss a chance to rotate. It allows Arteta to have a look at some of those players who’ve missed out on Premier League starts lately.
Arsenal predicted lineup to face Southampton in the FA Cup
Coming into the fixture, Arsenal have relatively few injury issues. Both Pablo Marì and Dani Ceballos are struggling with calf issues but there’s a chance the pair could feature tomorrow. Meanwhile, it’d be wise to rest the likes of Bukayo Saka, Granit Xhaka, Kieran Tierney and Rob Holding, who’ve played a lot of football lately.
With that being said, onto my predicted lineup.
Goalkeeper & Defenders
Bernd Leno (GK) – Mat Ryan’s six-month loan to join Arsenal was confirmed on Friday morning but one would expect tomorrow’s game against Southampton will come a little too early for him. Leno is clearly enjoying his football at the moment and should be allowed to carry on his strong form at St. Mary’s.
Hector Bellerin (RB) – for the first time in what feels like… ever, Hector Bellerin finds himself with some competition at right-back. His understudy, Çedric Soares, enjoyed a fine outing against Newcastle on Monday and thus Bellerin’s task against Southampton will be to try and win his place back.
David Luiz (RCB) – After three consecutive starts in all competitions, it seems David Luiz has found himself back in contention at Arsenal following a few games out of the side. As long as the Brazilian starts releasing the ball a bit quicker – there is a problem with this – he’s otherwise performing well at the back.
Gabriel (LCB) – After missing out on a lot of football due to contracting COVID-19, it’s time for Arteta to welcome his best centre-half back into the team. 23-year-old Gabriel Magalhaes has enjoyed a stellar first campaign in English football and he’ll be looking to pick up where he left off against Southampton.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles (LB) – Just please don’t start Kieran Tierney. Starting him against Newcastle in the FA Cup came back to bite us and it’d be reckless if Arteta risked him again at St. Mary’s. Maitland-Niles should receive a chance to get back into Arteta’s good books after a poor display against Palace last Thursday.