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[Image] Smith Rowe starts, senior quartet out: My Arsenal line-up vs Southampton

By on December 16, 2020

Arsenal take on Southampton at the Emirates tonight in a must-win game. This is the team I’d like to see Mikel Arteta select for the match…

Bernd Leno is an obvious starter while Gabriel and Kieran Tierney deserve to keep their places in the back four. Hector Bellerin’s form has been a worry for months so his place is coming under question. He’s suspended tonight anyway after collecting five yellow cards and I’d go with Ainsley Maitland-Niles ahead of Cedric Soares at right-back. David Luiz remains a doubt with an on-going head injury so I’d stick with Rob Holding alongside Gabriel in the heart of the Arsenal defence.

Thomas Partey remains unavailable after aggravating his thigh injury and Granit Xhaka will start his three-match ban following his sending off against Burnley. The Swiss international has burned his bridges with the fans once again after that petulant display which cost us three valuable points [which he still hasn’t apologised for] and I, like many, would be glad to see the back of him in January.

With Partey and Xhaka both unavailable tonight, the midfield almost picks itself as Dani Ceballos will start alongside Mohamed Elneny. Arsenal don’t have too many other options, especially if AMN starts at right-back.

We simply have to start scoring more goals and get more creativity in the side. Alexandre Lacazette has done no better than ‘OK’ in the No.10 role so I’d love to see Emile Smith Rowe given a chance tonight. He’s looked sharp when he’s played in the Europa League and I think he has a higher chance of succeeding at Arsenal than Joe Willock so let’s give the lad his opportunity.

Perrie-Emerick Aubameyang’s struggles continued at the weekend but we have to stick with him. For now, at least. Hopefully if we can start supplying him more chances the goals will come. Eddie Nketiah and Lacazette can be options from the bench.

Nicolas Pepe is available again after completing his ban and I’d start him on the right-wing. Willian has been a disastrous signing for Arsenal so far and looks a shadow of the player we saw at Chelsea. He doesn’t deserve his place right now so I’d go with Pepe on the right and Bukayo Saka on the left.

Gabriel Martinelli is close to being available for selection after stepping up his return from a long-term injury but this game will come too soon as he needs more minutes with the U23s.

This would be my line-up:

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