Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Southampton v Arsenal Fourth Round Emirates FA Cup Preview

Arsenal will be looking for a better start than they have made of late in a bid to beat Southampton on their home turf in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday. 

The Gunners needed a last-gasp Alexis Sanchez 'Panenka' penalty to beat Burnley 2-1 in the Premier League on Sunday, but have lost Granit Xhaka for as many as four games after the midfielder's second straight red card of the season.

Arsene Wenger's presence at St Mary's is also in doubt, with the manager facing a potential ban after being charged with misconduct by the Football Association after clashing with fourth official Anthony Taylor.

Wenger could face a lengthy spell on the sidelines, and Claude Puel's Saints will want to exploit the slow starts made by the Gunners in recent weeks in a bid to reach the next stage of the competition.


Arsenal will be without Granit Xhaka following his red card against Burnley, with the Gunners unlikely to appeal the midfielder's dismissal. 

While the Swiss international is out along with the injured Santi Cazorla, Wenger was boosted by Francis Coquelin's return in last weekend's win against the Clarets.

Hector Bellerin also returned off the bench in the same game, and could start to give the Gunners more width and pace than Gabriel has been offering on the right flank.

Danny Welbeck is pushing for his first start since returning from a long-term knee injury, while Kieran Gibbs may also be handed a role on the left flank should Wenger decide to rest the likes of Nacho Monreal and Olivier Giroud.

Theo Walcott (calf), Mathieu Debuchy (hamstring) and Per Mertesacker (knee) are all expected to remain sidelined until the end of the month. 

Southampton centre-back Virgil van Dijk is a slight doubt with an ankle injury, as are Sofiane Boufal (knee) and Steven Davis (knock).

Charlie Austin remains out until April with a shoulder injury.


Southampton: Forster, Soares, Yoshida, Van Dijk, Bertrand, Hojbjerg, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Redmond, Rodriguez, Tadic 

Arsenal: Ospina: Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Gibbs; Ramsey, Coquelin; Iwobi, Ozil, Sanchez; Welbeck

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