Now that the world’s most pointless international break (a low bar, sure, but still) is over, it’s back to competitions that matter, as the Premier League picks up again. Fortunately, Arsenal don’t have to travel far - their first game back is at home against Southampton, last year’s sixth place team, off to a slightly worse start than Arsenal so far this year, but still a tricky fixture.
When: Saturday, September 10, 2016 - 7AM PT/10AM ET/3PM BT
Where: Emirates Stadium
Importance: Arsenal got their first win of the season last time out against Watford, so that particular pressure is off, but they’ll look to continue the rampant form they showed in the first half rather than the indifferent form of the second. For Southampton, they are still looking for their first win under new manager Claude Puel, after a start that has seen them pick up two points from three games.
Key players: Arsenal, of course, are positively awash in new players; the question is, will Lucas Perez and Shkodran Mustafi see significant minutes? Granit Xhaka, of course, is basically a grizzled old veteran at this point, so he’ll probably get the start alongside Santi Cazorla in midfield.
For Southampton, their club record signing Sofiane Boufal is one to watch for; he’s an attacking midfielder who loves to make big runs and
Key injuries/omissions: Everyone emerged unscathed from the last match, and nobody got hurt on international duty, so that’s good.
Probable starters: Depending on how many of the new guys can play:
Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi (although Rob Holding may get the start since Mustafi hasn’t trained all that much) Kos, Monreal; Xhaka, Cazorla; Walcott, Özil, Alexis; Giroud