Arsene Wenger has handed Arsenal debuts to both of the players that he signed towards the end of the summer transfer window. So Shkodran Mustafi starts alongside our France international star Laurent Koscielny at the heart of the back four, while somewhat surprisingly the Spanish striker Lucas Perez starts ahead of Olivier Giroud.
I wondered if Lucas might start but thought it would be in one of the wide forward roles if he did, especially as a home game against Southampton is the sort when Giroud’s abilities as a target man would be more useful than his lack of pace would be a hindrance.
Perhaps not so surprising is that Wenger has left Alexis Sanchez on the bench as well after his long round trip and late return from South America, with Oxlade-Chamberlain coming in. Perhaps the boss has more than one eye on the Champions League tie with PSG on Tuesday but I hope he has not taken too many risks with this Premier League game.
We do have a fair bit of goal threat and creativity with Walcott, Ozil and Cazorla in the starting line up and so let’s hope that Wenger’s team selection proves to be the perfect one, for today as well as for Tuesday.
Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal
Walcott, Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain
Subs: Sanchez, Giroud, Ospina, Holding, Iwobi, Xhaka, Elneny.
Will this Gunners side be able to take all three points off the Saints?