Danny Welbeck is in line for his first Arsenal start of the season when they travel to the south coast to take on Southampton in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday (28 January).

The England international returned from a long-term injury absence earlier in the month and has thus far been restricted to three substitute appearances totaling 21 minutes. Arsene Wenger has been cautious with Welbeck owing to his lack of football in the last two seasons – 13 appearances in the Premier League since the start of the 2015/16 campaign.

The French manager will be keen to rotate his squad as they play three games in the next eight days which includes a trip to Stamford Bridge on 4 February. Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez are likely to make way for Welbeck and Lucas Perez, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could also return to the starting XI for the visit to St Mary's.

According to the London Evening Standard, Wenger was planning to give Welbeck a longer run out than the 10 minutes he played during their recent win over Burnley, but Granit Xhaka's sending off in the 65th minute put paid to the manager's plans. The former Manchester United striker has looked sharp during his brief appearances and will be keen to stake a claim for a regular starting role.

Mesut Ozil and Sanchez are likely to be omitted from the match day squad with a view to keeping them fresh for the upcoming Premier League games against Watford and Chelsea. According to the Mirror, Wenger will risk upsetting the Chilean by leaving him out of the squad.

Danny Welbeck
Danny Welbeck has played 21 minutes of football in all competitions since his return from injury earlier in the month Getty

Sanchez was outraged when he was substituted before time during Arsenal's recent win over Swansea and doesn't take too kindly if he is not allowed to play the entirety of the game. However, Wenger will be keen to keep his top scorer fresh ahead of the crucial clash against the league leaders next week.