Mikel Arteta speaks: “We have to freshen it up,” he says of his decision to drop Lacazette and Willian in an interview with Amazon Prime. “We need some creativity and goal threats up front.”

Mikel Arteta has made four changes with two big names getting axed. Willian and Alexandre Lacazette drop to the bench and will be replaced by Nicolas Pepe and Eddie Nketiah. Dani Celballos and Ainsley Maitland Niles come in for the suspended Granit Xhaka and Hector Bellerin.

Southampton manager Ralph Hassenhuttl picks the same team that beat Sheffield United on Sunday.

Big new about big Sam: Sam Allardyce has been confirmed as the new manager of West Bromwich Albion, following the dismissal of Slaven Bilic earlier today.

Arsenal: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney, Ceballos, Elneny, Saka, Pepe, Aubameyang, Nketiah.

Subs: Runarsson, Cedric, Mustafi, Luiz, Willock, Willian, Lacazette.

Related: 'No time to hide': Arteta admits he and Arsenal's players must take the flak

Despite his insistence on repeatedly picking the same players who repeatedly let him down, Mikel Arteta’s hand has been forced this evening.

Granit Xhaka misses out as he sits out the first game of his suspension for getting sent off against Burnley on Sunday, while Hector Bellerin will join him on the Naughty Step after he was shown his fifth yellow card of the season in the same game. Nicolas Pepe is available, however, having served his three-match ban for getting sent off against Leeds.

Arsenal are hoping to halt a run of four consecutive home league defeats when they entertain Southampton at the Emirates tonight but with the Saints flying high in the table on the back of seven wins in their past 10 games, there is no guarantee Mikel Arteta’s side will be spared further embarrassment.

Arsenal’s manager has been assured his job is not in peril, while his players can console themselves with the knowledge that London’s relegation to tier three of the covid restrictions there will be no disgruntled fans present to boo them on as they go about their business this evening.

Related: Edu backs Mikel Arteta and predicts 'beautiful future' under manager

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