Arsenal want to reply rapidly if they’re to reassert themselves on the high of the Premier League desk. Having held an eight level hole over Manchester Metropolis lower than two months in the past that may be lower to only one level by this time subsequent week.
It comes after the Gunners fell to a second 2-2 attract a row, giving up a two-goal lead in each away video games in opposition to West Ham and Liverpool. Each video games had been dramatic and had missed penalties however with Manchester Metropolis hotting up down the ultimate straight there isn’t any time to look again.
Mikel Arteta’s males have an opportunity to determine a recreation between themselves and their nearest challengers as soon as extra on Friday once they welcome struggling Southampton to the Emirates Stadium. When the 2 sides met in October Saints had been simply the second group to take any factors off Arsenal within the opening 11 video games.
Within the 20 matches since they’ve been held or overwhelmed in six of them together with the final two journeys. They should do it with out William Saliba as nicely with the Frenchman persevering with to be sidelined at this important stage of the season.
Nearly mockingly, Pep Guardiola has turned his Metropolis facet in the direction of that includes 4 centre-backs every nearly as good because the final. Though Rob Holding is a useful group participant, the drop-off to Saliba is alarming and has seen Gabriel battle extra too.
The spectacular defender hasn’t performed because the defeat to Sporting CP in March however Arteta has beforehand stated he’s optimistic he’ll function earlier than the tip of the season. “William remains to be not out there,” he stated earlier than final week. “He’s progressing nicely and we’re hopeful that we’ll have him out there within the subsequent few weeks. We’ll must see.”
Friday remains to be prone to come too quickly for him whereas Oleksandr Zinchenko was additionally pressured to look at on from the sidelines on the London Stadium. “He had a muscular concern on the finish of the match at Anfield final week and he struggled in the previous few minutes,” Arteta stated of his integral Ukrainian.
“We assessed him and he wasn’t match sufficient to play, and that’s why now we have good gamers like Kieran to interchange him.” Zinchenko was missed as a lot for his capacity to play into the midfield as his attacking menace in opposition to West Ham.
There was a lift in that recreation although as Eddie Nketiah returned, coming from the bench within the last minute. “Sure [he is ready to play],” Arteta stated earlier than the sport. “Eddie is again. He’s totally match now and he’s again.”
Elsewhere Mohamed Elneny and Takehiro Tomiyasu are the one long-term abscentees.