Having returned to winning ways with victory over AFC Bournemouth, Arsenal return to action in the EFL Cup with Southampton the obstacle standing between them and a place in the Semi Final.
- Arsenal’s last three home League Cup games against Premier League opposition have ended in defeat, with just one goal scored.
- The Gunners have progressed from just one of their last five League Cup quarter-finals, last doing so in 2010-11 with a 2-0 win over Wigan.
- Arsenal have lost just one of their seven League Cup meetings with Southampton.
- Southampton have been eliminated at this stage of the competition on each of their last seven attempts.
- No player has had a hand in more EFL Cup goals than Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain this season (4 – three goals, one assist).
- Oxlade-Chamberlain has also scored each of Arsenal’s last three goals in the EFL Cup.
(Stats Courtesy: BBC)
Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger has said the game will see him field a mixture of both experience and youth, so one would expect the likes of Rob Holding, Jeff Rene-Adelaide, Ainsley Maitland-Niles to get a chance to impress. League Cup regulars – Gabriel Paulista, Emi Martinez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would feature. Lucas Perez is back in the squad after a month out due to injury sustained in the last round of the competition.
Olivier Giroud is out after sustaining a late injury in the 3-1 victory over Bournemouth. Per Mertesacker, Danny Welbeck, Santi Cazorla and Hector Bellerin are out.
Since this is a game against Premier League oppisition, it won’t be a surprise if some of some regulars are included in the squad.
Southampton on the other hand will be hope to repeat their exploits in the competition two years when they knocked out Arsenal in tbe 3rd Round. The Saints are hoping to make it to the Semi Final of the League Cup for the first time since 1987 and their Claude Puel is hooing he can lead the team to a silverware in his first season.
Dušan Tadić remains out for the trip to the Emirates Stadium, but manager Claude Puel has confirmed that Steven Davis and Sofiane Boufal, who missed the clash with Everton due to illness, are back in contention.
How Both Teams Might Line Up
Emiliano Martinez will replace Petr Cech in goal, Gabriel and Holding should continue their run in the League Cup while Gibbs and Jenkinson should both return to their respective full-back position. It won’t be surprising if there is a continuation of the Xhaka-Elneny partnership as the partnership looked to click in the gane against Bournemouth. Aaron Ramsey could play in the Number 10 role and whether Wenger starts Lucas Perez remains to be seen.
I expect Southampton to go full-strength as this is a competition they believe they can win. Their striker, Charlie Austin has been i fine form and could take his tally into double figures for the season if he scores tonight.
This is going to be by far our toughest game in the competition, so I expect it to be a tight affair. I’m going for a 2 – 1 win in favour of the Gunners.