Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Theo Walcott is back in the squad after recovering from a calf injury, while Per Mertesacker and Mathieu Debuchy have returned to full training. Walcott has not played a single game since scoring against Manchester City last month and his availability will come as a massive shot in the arm for the manager, who also has Danny Welbeck back in the side after the striker recovered from a knee injury.
The Gunners are, however, extremely short in midfield, with Mohamed Elneny away on international duty with Egypt, while Granit Xhaka is suspended for the next four games after picking up yet another red card against Burnley. The Swiss international went two-footed into the challenge and was sent off by referee Jon Moss after consultation with the linesman.
The Gunners are also without Santi Cazorla, who is out with an Achilles problem and is unlikely to feature before the end of the season. Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin are the only two fit midfielders in the squad, with the Gunners facing three games in the next eight days, in the FA Cup and the league, including a massive game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
"We have Theo Walcott back in the squad and of course we lose Granit Xhaka because he will be suspended. Mohamed Elneny is at the Africa Cup of Nations and that's it. The good news is that Per Mertesacker and Mathieu Debuchy are back in full training from Friday, so the squad is quite big, but we are a bit short in midfield at the moment," Wenger told Arsenal's official website.
On his team selection against Southampton, Wenger said: "We'll put out a team with first-team experience. Maybe there will be one or two younger players, but no more. Overall, it's the squad that will play. I have not yet completely decided who will play and who will not play. It's a first-team squad that will be involved."