Arsenal news: Unai Emery insists he will keep rotating his squad after easy win over Southampton

Emery made six changes from the side that beat BATE Borisov in the Europa League

Luke Brown
Emirates Stadium
Sunday 24 February 2019 18:44

Unai Emery has said he will continue to rotate his first-team players after a much-changed Arsenal eased past Southampton to reclaim their place in the top four.

It took Alexandre Lacazette just six minutes to give Arsenal the lead, neatly flicking Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s miscued shot beyond Angus Gunn from close-range. Mkhitaryan then found his shooting boots a few minutes later, drilling Alex Iwobi’s cross into the bottom corner.

The win sees Arsenal move ahead of Manchester United and into fourth at a crucial point in their season. They host Bournemouth at the Emirates on Wednesday, before Saturday’s trip to Wembley to play north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

Emery made no fewer than six changes from the side that beat BATE Borisov in the Europa League on Thursday night and promised supporters to expect more rotation as he manages his squad through the business end of the season.

“Wednesday is a very important game against Bournemouth at home,” Emery said after the 2-0 win.

“And I think this is a moment where we will use different players for fresh pace and some fresh energy.

“We need a mix, to rest some players for the next match. Because we are going to play a lot of matches, we played Thursday, today, and again on Wednesday and Saturday. It is important we play with a big performance like today, when we can change some players in the first eleven.”

The only real negatives on a routine afternoon for Arsenal came when Stephan Lichtsteiner and Alex Iwobi appeared to pick up slight knocks, but Emery said that he was optimistic the duo would be fit for Wednesday’s clash, along with the returning Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

“I hope with Alex that it is only a knock and not a more important injury,” Emery said. “I hope that he can play Wednesday.

“Lichtsteiner has back pain. But he will be okay for Wednesday. And I hope also that Maitland-Niles can be ready for Wednesday.”

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