[Image] No Lacazette or Smith Rowe – How Arsenal should line-up vs Southampton

By on April 15, 2022

Arsenal need to get back to winning ways against Southampton at St Mary’s on Saturday afternoon. This is the line-up I’d like to see Mikel Arteta select for the match…

The big decision for the boss is who starts at left-back with Kieran Tierney out for the rest of the season. It’s safe to say Granit Xhaka didn’t work out last weekend against Brighton. He was badly missed in midfield and it should be an easy call for Arteta to move Xhaka back into the middle of the park.

Some are calling for Nuno Tavares to be given another chance. I was keen for him to start at home to Brighton, but I fear it might be too risky to throw him back in away to Southampton. Therefore, I’d switch Cedric Soares to left-back and move Ben White to right-back in the continued absence of Takehiro Tomiyasu. Rob Holding could then come in alongside Gabriel.

Arsenal have received a huge blow after Arteta hinted that Thomas Partey was unlikely to play again this season. He aggravated a thigh injury against Palace earlier this month and is now facing a race against time to play again during the run-in.

Obviously his absence is going to be sorely felt but it gives Albert Sambi Lokonga a chance to impress. I was disappointed with him against Brighton last week but hopefully he can put-in a better display tomorrow.

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Martin Odegaard should also retain his starting spot. The Norwegian international was arguably Arsenal’s best performer against Brighton and we’ll need him in top form again tomorrow.

Bukayo Saka will obviously line-up on the right wing ahead of Nicolas Pepe and I’d go with Gabriel Martinelli on the left. Emile Smith Rowe just doesn’t look fully fit right now so I’d leave him on the bench.

Alexandre Lacazette hasn’t trained this week amid reports he’s been feeling unwell. The Frenchman could still make the squad tomorrow but does he really deserve to keep his place? Lacazette has been woeful lately and offers zero goal threat, so I’d drop him even if he’s available.

We could try Martinelli or Smith Rowe in the false 9 role but I’d like to see Eddie Nketiah given a chance. He’s been lively off the bench and while his hold-up and link-up play may be lacking, at least offers some sort of threat in front of goal.

Here is the side I hope we see:

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