Arsenal v Southampton Team News


Arsenal and Southampton go in search of a much-needed win at Emirates Stadium on Saturday with the Gunners poised to welcome back Granit Xhaka.

The north London outfit have been without Xhaka since the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace towards the end of October following an angry, expletive-laden confrontation between the midfielder and the fans as he was being substituted.

Head coach Unai Emery has decided against selecting him since that incident and stripped him of the captaincy at the start of November as punishment for his action.

The move to take the armband off the Swiss has reportedly divided the dressing room but he could make a return to action this weekend and start mending some bridges with Emery revealing Xhaka has returned from the international break in a better frame of mind.

Arsenal will hope Xhaka’s comeback could inspire them to snap a six-game winless run in all competitions, their poor run heaping plenty of pressure on Emery.

The Spaniard is understood to have the backing of the board and will be given plenty of time to get the team back on track as they seek to put the 2-0 loss to Leicester City a fortnight ago behind them.

Dani Ceballos missed that game with a thigh injury and will be absent again this weekend with Emery penning him in for a mid-December return.

Sead Kolasinac could also sit out the visit of Southampton due to a tight hamstring.

North London has not been a happy hunting ground for the Saints in recent times, failing to win away in the league at Arsenal since 1987, although they have twice triumphed in the League Cup at the Emirates Stadium in the interim period.

Much like Emery, boss Ralph Hasenhuttl is a man feeling the heat at the minute after watching his side slip into the Premier League relegation zone.

The south-coast club have taken eight points from 12 matches and are seven without a win going into this weekend’s game.

Hasenhuttl has called on his players to become a “nasty team” to get out of trouble, believing they can battle their way out of their current situation.

The good news for Hasenhuttl is he has a fully-fit squad to choose from for the clash at Arsenal, Moussa Djenepo overcoming a muscle injury, while Ryan Bertrand is available once more after serving a three-match ban for his sending off in the 9-0 loss to Leicester.