Arsenal entertain another South Coast side in the form of Southampton on Wednesday. Considering this is the last eight of the League Cup and not a league fixture, expect Arséne Wenger to chop and change his squad from the win against Bournemouth.
The last time the sides met, Arsenal won convincingly 2-1. This time around, however, Claude Puel’s men will be raring to get one over the North London side.
I expect Francis Coquelin to start ahead of Carl Jenkinson and David Ospina or Emiliano Martinez to come in for Petr Cech, although Martinez is most likely to start. This could be his first start since signing his contract extension last week. Lucas Perez, who hasn’t played since the 2-0 win over Reading in the last round is in contention to start, with Olivier Giroud set to miss out having suffered a hamstring injury in the 3-1 win over Bournemouth. Arséne Wenger will use this match to freshen up the likes of Rob Holding, Kieran Gibbs, Alex Iwobi, and Krystian Bielik in order to give them further experience of first team football. A youthful line-up would be expected from Arsenal but I wouldn’t mind if more experienced players would play a part.
Arsenal have been known to not take this tournament seriously, by not fielding strong sides. This makes me get the feeling that Wenger will field a weakened squad. If he does, then I won’t be surprised as with the injuries suffered to Santi Cazorla and Hector Bellerin, he feels that his side can do without the first and second legs of the semi-finals stage.
I’d prefer Arsenal to take this competition seriously and use it as momentum to kick on for the rest of the season.
Arsenal have a pretty good record against Southampton, having won four of the seven cup ties, drawing two, and losing one. The home sides last loss to Southampton was back in September 2014. (The two draws came in an era when League Cup replays used to exist).
A win here will see Arsenal survive the so-called “Nasty November”.
Can Southampton put a stop to Arsenal’s unbeaten run in all competitions or will Arsenal continue their streak?
Feature image credit: wonker