Arsenal v Southampton

Published 29/11/16 

Arsenal’s bid for glory on multiple fronts continues in the EFL Cup quarter-final on Wednesday at the Emirates but they face a Southampton side that have all too often been a critical stumbling block on their path to titles.

Prior to their last gasp home win in September the Gunners had gone three games without a victory against Southampton, who did immeasurable damage to Arsenal’s title bid last season with a 4-0 win at St Mary’s and a stubborn 0-0 win in North London.

The last time these two met in the League Cup it was also Southampton that emerged victorious, despite Arsene Wenger fielding the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla. Arsenal may not have quite as many top names in their lineup as they prepare for a gruelling run of games before Christmas but the reserves have looked largely impressive in EFL action.

Another victory, this time against Premier League opposition after overcoming Nottingham Forest and Reading, would only strengthen Wenger’s belief in the depth of his squad and would put Arsenal in sight of silverware.

TEAM NEWS

Wenger could be without as many as eight first teamers for the visit of Southampton after three players picked up injuries in Sunday’s 3-1 win over Bournemouth. Theo Walcott’s knock was the least concerning but both Olivier Giroud and Mathieu Debuchy damaged their hamstrings, the latter telling his manager that it was “a severe one”.

Lucas Perez could be back in time after a quicker than expected return from an ankle injury but the likes of Santi Cazorla and Hector Bellerin remain more long-term concerns.

Southampton were without both Sofiane Boufal and Steven Davis in their 1-0 home win over Everton but both are expected to return after suffering with illness, whilst 19-year-old Josh Sims likely did enough on debut to retain his place in the squad.

Dusan Tadic is unlikely to be available and reserve goalkeeper Alex McCarthy is a doubt but Claude Puel is still likely to field a relatively strong side having started the likes of Jose Fonte, James Ward-Prowse and Boufal in the last round.

POSSIBLE STARTING LINEUPS

Arsenal : Martinez; Jenkinson, Gabriel, Holding, Gibbs; Elneny, Ramsey; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Iwobi, Reine-Adelaide; Lucas

Southampton : Forster; Yoshida, Fonte, Stephens, McQueen; Reed, Ward-Prowse, Hojbjerg, Boufal; Rodriguez, Austin

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