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‘What’s the point’ – These Arsenal fans slam apparently wasteful lineup decision that sees two goalkeepers on the bench vs Southampton

Mikel Arteta has made seven changes to the Arsenal side that started the comfortable win over Newcastle on Monday ahead of this afternoon’s FA Cup tie against Southampton.

The backline sees the least changes of all, Bernd Leno remains between the sticks with yesterday’s loan signing from Brighton, Mat Ryan, one of two goalkeepers on the bench for the Gunners.

There’s two changes to the defensive line with Gabriel Magalhaes returning to action for the first time after a bout with Covid-19 in the place of David Luiz.

Cedric maintains a spot in the starting lineup against his former club, with Hector Bellerin handing Kieran Tierney a much-needed rest by seemingly shifting across to left-back.

Cedric has experience of playing on the opposite flank owing to his loan with Inter Milan, but it’s unclear which of the Portuguese ace or Bellerin will take up the spot on the left flank.

The personnel suggest that Arteta is sticking with a 4-2-3-1 formation as Granit Xhaka is the only midfielder or attacker to remain in the starting lineup.

Xhaka is partnered in the middle of the park by Mohamed Elneny, with out-of-form Willian taking up the No.10 role and thus the role of the side’s primary creator.

Club-record signing Nicolas Pepe and exciting youngster Gabriel Martinelli are on the wings, with academy graduate Eddie Nketiah leading the line.

Take a look at the Gunners’ lineup below:

Here’s how some of the Arsenal faithful have reacted to the teamsheet:

It’s not surprising to see such considerable rotation from the Gunners, with their reignited form in the Premier League certainly the focus – key players have been handed a rest this afternoon.

It could form the recipe for a disaster though as Southampton have not tinkered with their side nearly as much, suggesting that Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men could be in line to make an upset today.

There’s other reasons why the Saints can field a strong side as well, the coastal outfit had the chance to rest their key stars midweek when they played their FA Cup tie against Shrewsbury that was postponed due to Covid-19 instead of being challenged in the Premier League.

Whilst the uproar towards the decision to take three goalkeepers in Bernd Leno, Runar Alex Runarsson and Ryan to Southampton is understandable, it may have been slightly necessary if new signing Ryan – who hasn’t played since mid-December – isn’t fully fit as of yet.

The last-minute personal matter of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could’ve also impacted this.

More Stories Bernd Leno Mat Ryan Mikel Arteta Ralph Hasenhuttl Runar Alex Runarsson