Arsene Wenger will be without midfielder Aaron Ramsey for Arsenal’s Premier League clash with Southampton on Saturday, but is boosted by the return of Alex Iwobi.
The French manager is set to hand a debut to new signing Shkodran Mustafi alongside Laurent Koscielny in central defence, while Olivier Giroud is set to retain his place leading the attacking line despite the signing of Lucas Perez.
Ramsey meanwhile has been out of action since going off injured in Arsenal’s opening day 4-3 defeat to Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium, but – according to the Express – Wenger is cautious about rushing the Welshman back into action with huge matches against Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea on the horizon.
Wenger is not short of options in attack though, Iwobi, Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all pushing for a starting berth, with Granit Xhaka and Santi Cazorla starting as the pair in central midfield.
Meanwhile, new signing Mustafi has revealed he spoke with German teammate Ozil before joining Arsenal, with the playmaker beaming about the progression of the club and life in London.
“We had time to speak,” said Mustafi. “He told me about the club, about the team. I noticed that it’s a club where I can develop, where I can grow as a player. He said that he’s happy here, that the people are crazy for football and that it’s a team that enjoys playing football the way that he does, the way that I do.”
Wenger’s boys picked up three points at Watford before the international break to kick-start their season after registering a single point from their opening two games.
In February, Arsenal were held by the Saints, then managed by Ronald Koeman, as they conceded ground in the title race, but will this time hope to thrust themselves towards the early pace-setters with victory in north London.