Crisis club Arsenal welcome in-form Southampton to the Emirates on Wednesday night in a game that looks like a tough assignment for Mikel Arteta.
The Gunners have usually been in excellent form in midweek games this season, winning all six of their Europa League fixtures, but woeful against Premier League opposition, losing four of their last five league games as pressure mounts on Arteta.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored more goals against Arsenal at the Emirates than for them so far this season, but will continue to be relied upon as Southampton visit the capital.
Granit Xhaka will be suspended after ridiculously getting sent off against Burnley on Sunday for grabbing Ashley Westwood around the neck. Whether or not that improves the Gunners’ chances of a result remains to be seen.
Arteta will definitely be without Thomas Partey with a thigh injury, while Nicolas Pepe is also suspended. Reiss Nelson has a chance of returning after a head injury, but Sead Kolasinac is unlikely to make the squad.
David Luiz will be assessed after missing the 1-0 defeat to Burnley with the after effects of a concussion injury sustained in that horrific clash with Raul Jimenez, while the game will come too soon for Gabriel Martinelli, who has stepped up his recovery from an ACL injury in the past week.
As for Southampton, Ralph Hassenhuttl has a fully fit squad to choose from, which seems entirely in keeping with everything going well at St Mary’s at the minute.
Danny Ings and Nathan Redmond are both available after injuries recently, and the pair combined for Saints’ third goal against Sheffield United at the weekend.
A win for Hassenhuttl could send Southampton top of the table for the second time this season, albeit for a maximum of two hours as Liverpool and Spurs play at Anfield ten minutes after the full-time whistle goes at the Emirates.
Arsenal need a win to affect things at the other end of the table, as they bid to pull themselves away from a relegation battle that is starting to tighten up.
Defeat coupled with a win for Brighton could send the Gunners as low as 16th, while a much-needed win could see them leapfrog Leeds United into 14th and stop the rot.
Arsenal take on Southampton at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday, December 16th. Kick-off is at 6pm