Having turned their Premier League form around recently, Arsenal’s focus now turns to the next phase of their FA Cup defence.
Mikel Arteta’s Gunners travel to St. Mary’s to take on Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Southampton in the fourth round, and given the quality their opponents have in their ranks, this will likely prove a very difficult tie.
The holders needed extra time to overcome Newcastle in the third round, while Southampton recently cruised past Shrewsbury in a game that had been rescheduled because of positive COVID-19 cases.
The Saints rested a number of players in that game, but they are likely to field a stronger side against Arsenal in order to progress. Here, 90min looks at who Arteta should select for the away side.
Bernd Leno (GK) – The German has been in fine form of late and although in an ideal world Maty Ryan would come in for his debut, this game has probably come around a bit too soon for him.
Hector Bellerin (RB) – An unused substitute in the win over Newcastle United on Monday, the Spaniard should be fresh for this one. His omission from the starting XI came as a bit of a surprise and after Cedric’s impressive display, he’ll have a point to prove.
David Luiz (CB) – Has come back into the side recently and although he divides opinion among the club’s fans, Arsenal have continued to keep clean sheets. Rob Holding has played a lot of football recently and could do with a breather, so why not allow the Brazilian to continue.
Gabriel (CB) – Yet to return to the side since he tested positive for COVID-19, Gabriel could get his chance here with Pablo Mari unavailable.
Cedric (LB) – The former Saints man was brilliant against Newcastle and although he is a predominantly right-footed player, he is no stranger to playing on the other flank. Kieran Tierney would love a rest, too.
Granit Xhaka (CM) – The Swiss international is playing some of the best football of his Arsenal career at present, and with continued question marks over the fitness of Dani Ceballos, he should anchor the midfield.
Mohamed Elneny (CM) – The Egyptian has been in and out of the side this season, with Thomas Partey only just back from injury, Arsenal should be wrapping him up in cotton wool ahead of Manchester United’s upcoming visit, so the Egyptian should start.
Willian (AM) – It’s fair to say that so far, Willian’s move to Arsenal hasn’t really worked out. But he’s got to come good at some point, right? Emile Smith Rowe should probably be rested, giving him the former Chelsea man an opportunity to shine.
Nicolas Pepe (RW) – The Ivorian has struggled to make an impact at Arsenal and given the recent form of Bukayo Saka, needs to take any opportunities he’s afforded.
Gabriel Martinelli (LW) – A breath of fresh air every time he takes to the field in an Arsenal shirt. His explosive style is extremely pleasing on the eye and given he is unlikely to displace captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the Premier League, the FA Cup is his place to shine.
Eddie Nketiah (ST) – The young striker has been starved of game time recently and has a point to prove. Alexandre Lacazette will be needed against United, and fresh legs for that game should afford Nketiah a start here.