CONFIRMED: Arsenal & Southampton line-ups – Walcott on bench, Lovren out

Here is how Arsenal and Southampton will line-up for this afternoon’s match at the Emirates Stadium:

Arsenal starting XI: Szczesny, Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Arteta, Wilshere, Ramsey, Ozil, Cazorla, Giroud

Subs: Fabianski, Monreal, Vermaelen, Walcott, Rosicky, Gnabry, Bendtner

Southampton starting XI: Boruc, Clyne, Shaw, Fonte, Hooiveld, Wanyama, Schneiderlin, Lallana, Ward-Prowse, Rodriguez, Lambert

Subs: Gazzaniga, Davis, Osvaldo, Yoshida, Reed, Chambers, Gallagher

No one would have thought it at the start of the season, but as the two sides prepare to meet only three points separate them in the Premier League.

Such is Southampton’s impressive early season form that a win this afternoon could see them leapfrog the Gunners and possibly end the day as high as first, depending how Liverpool’s match against Everton finishes.

Arsene Wenger is without the suspend Mathieu Flamini today, but can call on Theo Walcott after the England man recovered from injury. Per Mertesacker will also return after missing the defeat to Manchester United due to illness.

Three of the last four meetings between the Saints and the Gunners have ended in draws, and Mauricio Pochettino would surely be happy with a point this afternoon.

But Arsenal’s last league outing was the first time they had failed to score in the league since April, so expect Southampton to need to find the net at least once if they hope to take something back to the South Coast.

image: © mihael hilton

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