Jeremie Aliadiere tells Mikel Arteta to rest five Arsenal stars vs Southampton
Posted by  badge Boss on Apr 21
Gabriel Martinelli and Thomas Partey both need a rest, says Jeremie Aliadiere (Picture: Getty)

Jeremie Aliadiere has named five Arsenal stars manager Mikel Arteta should rest as the Gunners host bottom club Southampton on Friday night.

The north side head into the fixture at the Emirates looking to recover from two consecutive draws in which they surrendered two-goal leads.

Those setbacks came at Liverpool and but hosting 20th-placed Southampton, who have won one of their last eight top-flight games, is the perfect opportunity for Mikel Arteta’s team to get their title charge back on track.

Arsenal remain top of the league but second-placed Manchester City – champions in four of the last five seasons – are now just four points behind, have a game in hand and welcome the Gunners to the Etihad on Wednesday in a title showdown.

Ahead of that gigantic battle, former Arsenal striker Aliadiere feels Arteta should rest five players when they take on the Saints under the lights on Friday.

When it was put to him that star winger Buyako Saka looked tired against West Ham on Sunday, Aliadiere told ‘I agree.

‘He was rested before the Liverpool game. He’s played a lot of games and has been amazing this season but I think you are right.

Bukayo Saka missed a penalty in the 2-2 draw at West Ham on Sunday (Picture: Getty)

‘Playing against Southampton, Gabriel Martinelli and Buyako Saka have played a lot this season and these players that carry the ball a lot, they dribble and cover a lot of ground, it’s the end of the season and they are still young.

‘On Friday night I agree Arsenal should rest those players. We’ve got Leandro Trossard and Emile Smith Rowe and players who have not played much football lately. They are ready to come in and do a job for Arsenal.

‘I’m sure Mikel Arteta will be thinking of that, especially with the Manchester City game in mind, which comes quickly after. I agree he will probably rest Saka and see how the game goes.

Jeremie Aliadiere would like to see Emile Smith Rowe come into the starting XI (Picture: Getty)

‘If he doesn’t need to come on (from the bench) then great, give him the day off! Get him ready for that Manchester City game.’

Asked what other changes to the Arsenal XI he would consider making, such as dropping Thomas Partey, Gabriel Jesus and Martin Odegaard, Aliadiere added: ‘Yes, all those guys.

‘I think you’ve got a very fair point – Thomas Partey was not at his best against West Ham. He was losing the ball too cheaply and did not seem sharp.

Jorginho should replace Thomas Partey on Friday night, feels Jeremie Aliadiere (Picture: Getty)

‘As a player, some days you just don’t feel it. You don’t know why, you get on the pitch and you are not as sharp as you were in training a few days ago or in the last game.

‘Mikel Arteta is seeing players every day on the field, he will know, but I totally agree. If I was manager I would rotate for that game and change some of the boys who look tired to get them refreshed and ready for the Manchester City game.

‘That’s going to be the one you don’t want to lose. As much as they are top players who have performed so well this season, I think against Southampton we have got enough players – Eddie Nketiah, Emile Smith Rowe, Jorginho – to have them in the starting XI and still win the game.’

Gabriel Jesus scored in the draw at West Ham but could be rested on Friday (Picture: Getty)

Aliadiere, who is involved with the media team at Arsenal, also provided insight into the mood within the team’s camp after their last two costly results.

‘They’re still feeling very confident and it is still in their hands,’ the Frenchman said.

‘I think it is more the press and the public around the club who are making them feel that they are out of it. The game against Manchester City away is coming up, it’s like it is already lost in people’s minds.

Manchester City defeated Arsenal 3-1 at the Emirates earlier this season (Picture: Getty)

‘That won’t be in the players’ minds at all. Arsenal have proven this season that they can go anywhere and get a result.

‘City are a top side and we know it will be a difficult game but I still believe that Arsenal can go there and not lose.

‘Everything is to play and it’s in our hands. I’d rather be in our situation than having to chase like City. That would have been a tougher situation.

Pep Guardiola’s side have won four of the last five Premier League titles (Picture: Getty)

‘The last two results have been very disappointing and the boys are very down about it. They are maybe not really understanding how it happened.

‘They were 2-0 up and started both games really well. It seems that after 25, 30 minutes things are changing.

‘They don’t have much of an explanation for it or an understanding. It’s one of those things where it has just happened.

‘They are still very, very confident and Mikel Arteta has a big job on his hands to keep the boys believing. It’s not because of those two results that the race is over, it’s far from it.’

Aliadiere, meanwhile, is ‘one million per cent’ confident that Arsenal can finish above Pep Guardiola’s side and secure their first top-flight title in 19 years.

Quizzed if he is still backing his old club to etch their name on the Premier League trophy, Aliadiere added: ‘Yeah, 100 per cent. One million per cent!

‘I definitely still believe. You know what, I’m going to say it… I can even see us going to the Etihad and winning. I really do.

‘Manchester City have had a big game in the Champions League, another big semi-final (FA Cup) on the weekend.

‘I know they might have a better, bigger squad than we’ve got, but I can see us going there and getting something. I really do believe we will end up winning the title.’

Jeremie Aliadiere was speaking to Metro on behalf of .