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Arsenal XI vs Southampton: Koscielny, Monreal to Start + 8 changes made to Starting lineup

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With Rob Holding (knee), Dinos Mavropanos (groin), Shkodran Mustafi (suspended and hamstring) and Sokratis Papastathopolous (suspended) unavailable, Unai Emery has a real selection headache at centre-half.

The Arsenal boss has preferred a three-man central defence in recent weeks but a lack of numbers may force a rethink, with Emery set to make a late decision on whether Laurent Koscielny is ready to start a Premier League match for the first time this season following his 72-minute run-out against Qarabag on Thursday.

Stephan Lichtsteiner and Nacho Monreal are Emery’s other options at centre-back, so a 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 may instead be preferred (as it was in the second half of the win over Huddersfield) this weekend given the dearth of choice available to the Gunners’ head coach.

Alexandre Lacazette played 63 minutes of Arsenal’s Europa League dead rubber to cast his involvement from the start in doubt this Sunday, but Emery did make a point of saying that the French striker just “needs rhythm to play” and that “every player who played today can play Sunday”.
Mesut Ozil also returned to fitness against the Azerbaijani side, but a rested Alex Iwobi, Aaron Ramsey and Henrikh Mkhitaryan will surely come into the thinking in whatever system Emery decides to roll out.

The manifold issues at centre-back may also persuade Emery to field an extra central midfielder in the form of Matteo Guendouzi to give protection to his defence, with the youngster having lined up alongside Lucas Torreira and Granit Xhaka in the engine room at the Emirates last weekend.


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