Southampton Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups
After the win-less streak, the Gunners hit the ground running with a comfortable win against Aston Villa but they are going to come up against a Southampton side that has been in great form this season. The League Cup would offer Arsene Wenger a chance to rest some of his key players ahead of the North London Derby coming up in the weekend. The Gunners’ last domestic defeat at the Emirates was their 2-0 loss to Chelsea in the fourth round of last season’s League Cup.
Arsenal have won nine of their last 11 home League Cup ties, scoring 29 times, with their only defeats coming against Manchester City in the 2011/12 season and Chelsea last season. However, the Gunners have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last nine matches in this competition, a sequence that began with defeat to Birmingham three years ago. The last time Arsenal failed to advance to the fourth round of this competition was in the 2002/03 campaign, when they were eliminated by Sunderland.
Despite their garage sales this summer, Southampton has been a team on the ascendancy and their recent results have been nothing short of superb. Their new recruits have settled in well and they look like a decent unit that can book a place in Europe if they continue in this vein of form. Credit to Ronald Koeman for his great work with the Saints.
I expect a totally different squad from the team we have witnessed since the start of the season, and many Gunners would be on the lookout for new signing, David Ospina, that recently joined the club from OGC Nice. The Colombian shot stopper made 189 appearances in six seasons with the French outfit and he endeared himself to the hearts of the French fans. He has reached a time in his career where he’d want to feature consistently but in a formidable player like Wojciech Szczesny, Ospina will have his work cut out for him.
In defense, the Gunners have been very light with injuries to key players. According to Arsene Wenger, Mathieu Debuchy has had a surgery on his injured left ankle,
“He has had surgery and will be out for three months. A reasonable delay is three months.
“It all went well, but it can be a week or two earlier or a week or two later, but it will be around three months.
“It is a blow of course, how big it will be we will only know afterwards because it will be down to how well we replace him. We bought [Calum] Chambers for that.”
Even though Chambers would serve as Debuchy’s deputy, Hector Bellerin would be given another chance to strut his stuff with Chambers playing in the middle alongside Per Mertesacker with Laurent Koscielny getting some rest. The French defender has been in the fabled ‘red zone’ this season and he could do with some rest. With Nacho Monreal still having issues with his fitness, Kieran Gibbs would continue in his left back position. I also expect a tactical shake up in midfield, with Mathieu Flamini stepping in for Mikel Arteta while the Ox may be given another chance through the middle with Tomas Rosicky playing as the creative hub of the team. The attacking places would be occupied by Lukas Podolski on the left, Joel Campbell on the right and the red-hot Chuba Akpom playing through the middle.
Arsenal: The Gunners would be without Serge Gnabry (knee), Yaya Sanogo (hamstring), Nacho Monreal (back), Theo Walcott (knee), Olivier Giroud (foot) and Debuchy (ankle).
Southampton: The Saints would definitely be without Sam Gallagher (knee) and Jay Rodriguez (knee) but there are doubts over the fitness of James Ward-Prowse (knock) and Maya Yoshida (knock).
- Last Five Games: W L D D W
- Last Result: Aston Villa 0 Arsenal 3
- Last Five Games: W W W W D
- Last Result: Swansea City 0 Southampton 1
Gooner Daily Prediction: 3 – 1
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