The Gunners will be hoping to secure a positive result on Thursday evening, as they take on Southampton at the Emirates Stadium, but Mikel Arteta has a number of selection issues to contend with ahead of the game.
They take on a Saints side this evening who are in good form following their handsome win at Norwich last Friday.
But that scare didn’t spark an improvement from the home side, who then did go a goal down on 8 minutes, but there was absolutely nothing they could have done about it.
Another victory for Southampton will take them to the all-important 40 point mark while Arsenal simply must win to keep their dwindling hopes of Europe alive.
Though the news about Bernd Leno could certainly be worse, Arsenal will still have to do without him for the remainder of the campaign. He has been diagnosed with a ligament sprain after his coming-together with Neal Maupay – as opposed to serious ligament damage as first feared – meaning he could be back in as little as four to six weeks.
We didn’t get close to predicting that line-up.
So I’m going to move swiftly on…
The Gunners starting XI feels like a statement from Mikel Arteta.
Martinez had to come in after Bernd Leno’s injury, while it’s good to see Kieran Tierney get a start.
Picking Granit Xhaka and Eddie Nketiah – who could be playing up front alongside Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – feels different.
In the meantime, Emi Martinez will have to deputise in goal. With Pablo Mari also injured and David Luiz suspended thanks to his red card against Manchester City, Arteta will most likely start Shkodran Mustafi and Rob Holding at centre-back with Hector Bellerin at right-back and Kieran Tierney to the left of them.
Arsenal started very slowly in the game and could have gone a goal down in the first few minutes, with Michael Obafemi seeing an effort saved off the line in the early stages, with Rob Holding on hand to prevent the goal.
The Saints won a free-kick on the edge of the Arsenal box, with set piece expert James Ward-Prowse stepping up to take it.
The visiting side to the Emirates this evening have improved immensely since the new year and Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side looked particularly impressive as they ruthlessly dispatched a poor Norwich side in their only match since the restart.