Unfortunanetly there will be no 15th FA Cup for Arsenal this season. The unbeaten streak at home came to an end as well and the rotated side failed to find a spark in the attack. Now Mikel Arteta can turn his attention back to the Premier League where Arsenal have a critical five-match stretch coming up - Southampton, Manchester United, Wolves, Aston Villa, and Leeds United. The league leaders and four clubs stuck in the middle of the table, as just seven points seperate 8th to 14th.
The Gunners head into Tuesday’s match in 11th place, one spot and two points behind Southampton, but having played one more match than the Saints. Arsenal have picked up 13 points over the last five games while Southampton have collected just five. But this is not the Saints side of the past few seasons, as Arsenal got a glimpse of on Saturday.
Their defeat to Leciester 2-0 on the 16th was the first time they had lost by two goals or more since mid-September. Both sides are securely in the midtable congestion of clubs from West Ham in 7th (not a typo) to Wolves in 14th. Another strong run of five matches from any of these clubs can push them back into contention for the European positions.
This week the club said goodbye to Mesut Ozil, a truly global star in the world of football, an exciting pressence in Arsenal’s attack (at his height), and a symbol for the heights the club aspires to reach. Best of luck at Fenerbahçe!
- Eddie Nketiah
- Nicolas Pepe
- Dani Ceballos
- Mohamed Elneny
- Joe Willock
- Ainsley Maitland-Niles
- Mathew Ryan
- Left Out: Calum Chambers, Reiss Nelson, Cedric Soares, Alex Runarsson & Shkodran Mustafi
- Out: Pablo Mari (calf issue), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (personal issue)
- After the set back in the Cup, we should see close to the same squad that defeated Newcastle 3-0 last time out in the league. I say close so because we still don’t know what personal issue Aubameyang is dealing with and as such when he may not be available for selection again.
- Martinelli returned in the Cup tie at the weekend but was substituted in the 58th minute. The move was partially down to not being ready for a full 90 yet and/or knowing that Arteta planned to start Martinelli if Aubameyang remains out. While we will surely miss our talisman, a front attacking quartet of Lacazette, Smith Rowe, Martinelli, and Saka should be able to erase the drab performance in the Cup.
- Thomas Partey should return to the starting lineup after Elneny failed to impact Saturday’s match against Southampton. With Ceballos in the mix as well, Arteta has a plenty of options to rotate or adjust the midfield formation. Xhaka has been solid since his return from the red card against Burnley. Saturday was the first time the side failed to win during that stretch. Once Partey and Ceballos hit their form again, the Arsenal midfield trio has the chance to put together another lengthy shutout streak.
- The other change in the starting XI from the Newcastle victory is bringing in Hector Bellerin for Cedric. Cedric had a good second half against Newcastle, picking up an assist, but struggled to provide any creative linkup play when he filled in on Saturday on the left for Tierney (which is understandable to some degree). Tierney-Luiz-Holding-Bellerin back in front of Leno and with Xhaka-Partey roaming the midfield, should provide a more solid defensive structure against the Saints attack.
- With just six days left in the transfer window, will the bench give us any further hints about potential moves? Can the club find positive loan moves for Mustafi, Runarsson, and Nelson for the back half of the season? If Arsenal expect to bring in Ødegaard on loan and possibly a new left-back behind Tierney, they need to continue to push for moves to get players consistent playing time and reduce the squad size.
How to watch
Tuesday (1/26) at 3:15 pm ET / 12:15 pm PT on Peacock Premium.