Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang being absent for a prolonged period would be a problem for Arsenal but Mikel Arteta is expecting big things from Gabriel Martinelli.
Arsenal were without Aubameyang for their 1-0 FA Cup defeat to Southampton on Saturday after the Gabon international left the squad to attend to a personal matter.
Arteta was unsure how long the striker would be unavailable for, making him a doubt for the second straight game at St Mary's Stadium - this time a Premier League meeting on Tuesday.
Aubameyang has struggled for form this season, scoring eight goals - three of which have come in his past three appearances - and supplying one assist in 20 outings in all competitions.
"Of course, it would be a problem because he's our top striker and the one who has scored the most goals," Arteta told a news conference.
"He's our captain and an important player in the team. I don't have enough information right now to see how things are evolving and hopefully things will go in the right direction."
One player that Arteta is expecting to step up if Aubameyang is absent is Martinelli.
"I expect big things from Gabi," said Arteta. "He's been really helpful since he joined again after such a long period, so I'm really positive about him."
Southampton have had a superb season, yet Ralph Hasenhuttl's team would find themselves below Arsenal if they lose on Tuesday, while a win could take them into the top six.
However, Hasenhuttl will be without both of his first-choice full-backs, with Ryan Bertrand suspended and Kyle Walker-Peters sustaining an injury.
"It's the quad area, he's got some problems. He only warmed up a little bit today and then felt some problems so had to stop," Hasenhuttl said of Walker-Peters.
"We have to find the right solutions at full-back. It's an important position for our game."
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Southampton - Theo Walcott
Walcott spent over a decade at Arsenal, and scored on his return to the Emirates Stadium back in December. The only three players to score home and away against the Gunners in a Premier League season having previously played for them in the competition are Kevin Campbell, Nicolas Anelka and Robin van Persie.
Arsenal - Emile Smith Rowe
Smith Rowe's introduction has coincided with Arsenal's upturn in form, with the youngster having created 10 chances in his five league appearances so far. However, with Martin Odegaard seemingly set to arrive in the coming days, the midfielder will have to keep up his form to keep his place.
KEY OPTA FACTS
- Southampton have won one of their last 10 Premier League matches against Arsenal (D4 L5), a 3-2 home win in December 2018.
- Arsenal are looking to win three consecutive away Premier League games for the first time since October 2018, while they last did so without conceding back in May 2013.
- Arsenal have kept four consecutive clean sheets in the Premier League, last keeping five in a row in the competition back in January 2006.
- After a run of scoring in 12 consecutive Premier League games, Southampton have failed to score in four of their last five in the competition. The Saints are looking to avoid consecutive Premier League defeats for the first time since their opening two games of this campaign.
- Arsenal are looking to record back-to-back away Premier League wins against Southampton for the first time since winning in March and August 1997 under Arsene Wenger.