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Preview: Arsenal v Southampton, team news, line-ups & prediction
The interlull is finally over and we can get back to proper football as Arsenal entertain Southampton at the Emirates on Saturday afternoon.
We secured our first win of the season before the international break with an impressive 3-1 win at Watford so we could probably have done without the two-week break to be honest.
It was a much-needed victory at Vicarage Road as we’d only picked-up one point from our previous two games against Liverpool and Leicester but hopefully we can collect another three points tomorrow which will take us to 7 from a possible 12.
Southampton won’t be easy though as they are a very useful side under new manager Claude Puel – although they have taken just two points from their first three games so they’ll be desperate to go away with a positive result from the Emirates.
All eyes will be on whether Arsene Wenger decides to hand debuts to Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez following their moves just before deadline day.
Both players have been training with the squad this week and are available for selection but I think we’ll see Mustafi start with Perez named on the bench.
Alexis Sanchez will be handed a late fitness test after only returning from South America on Thursday night but Olivier Giroud is expected to make his first start of the season after returning to full fitness.
Aaron Ramsey has been ruled out of the next two games as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury but Alex Iwobi is back in contention after overcoming a thigh strain.
Per Mertesacker, Carl Jenkinson and Danny Welbeck are all still unavailable but Gabriel returned to training today as he looks to get back to full fitness following an ankle injury.
As for Southampton, they’ll be without Jeremy Pied after he was ruled out for up to nine months with an ACL injury but Fraser Forster and Ryan Bertrand are available for selection.
If Alexis is fit, he should start. Arsene has hinted he might rest some key men for the PSG game on Tuesday night but this match is just as important so I want our best team selected.
Southampton: Forster; Soares, Fonte, Van Dijk, Bertrand; Romeu, Hojbjerg; Redmond, Tadic, Boufal; Long
Southampton have become something of a bogey team for us in recent seasons as we’ve won just one of our last six meetings with the south coast club. They are a dangerous side but I’m confident we’ll pick up the three points.
There should be a renewed buzz around the Emirates with two new signings on show and we have to bounce back from losing our previous home game against Liverpool. I’m going for a 2-0 win. Arsenal 2-0 Southampton