By Tony Attwood
Lucas Perez is being tipped to play again in the League Cup quarter-final against Southampton tonight; Olivier Giroud has an injury – either hamstring or groin depending on the source of information. The Giroud injury is said not to be too serious and that omitting him tonight is just a precaution.
Chuba Akpom’s back injury will most likely keep him out until into the new year and he is now scheduled to be back (although not match fit) by the beginning of January. There is no return date for Santi Cazorla or Debuchy at the moment.
Perez has not had a game since the last round in this competition, because of his injury and his availability means that Walcott and Alexis can be given the night off. So it looks like another night of backup players and promising youth. Southampton may well do the same as they are still in the Europa.
Emiliano Martinez most certainly should play having just signed a new long-term contract with Arsenal – which says a lot about how much the club value him and how much he appreciates Arsenal – what with there being two internationals ahead of him. But I also wonder if they told him how much longer Cech might play and suggested that Martinez will step up to being first team deputy in a year or so.
What’s also noteworthy is that he hasn’t let a goal in, in the two previous EFL Cup games, which gives a good feeling to the defence in front of him. This will, I think, be his 11th game for Arsenal.
The other names being bandied around for tonight are Ainsley Naitland-Miles, Rob Holding, Kieran Gibbs, Gabriel, Alex Iwobi, Jeff Reine-Adelaide, Kristian Bielik, and Stephy Mavididi.
Mavididi was not involved in the last round, but he was the under-21s’ top goalscorer last season, getting 17 in 30 games.
So in defence it will be all change with Carl Jenkinson, Gabriel Paulista, Rob Holding and Kieran Gibbs forming the line. But the midfield is harder to pick: Mohamed Elneny, Francis Coquelin, Alex Oxlade‑Chamberlain, Alex Iwobi, Aaron Ramsey, Granit Xhaka, Jeff Reine‑Adélaïde and Ainsley Maitland-Niles all might expect a game.
Mr Wenger has also explained that he gave Jenkinson time off in the last match to help his long term recovery…
“I rested Carl completely against Bournemouth because he had played in two big games [Manchester United and Paris St-Germain] and I felt he needed a breather. Sometimes, mentally, three games in a week demands a lot. Carl’s back in and we’ll put Gabriel in the centre.”
Mr Wenger said, “Southampton have certainly been the most prolific producers of top talent in England in the last 15 years; they have not only produced talent, but top talents. We have some examples at our club but don’t forget they’ve also produced top quality players like Gareth Bale and Adam Lallana. They do not only produce quality players; they scout very well.”
The Southampton manager Claude Puel got his first chance in coaching by working under Arsene Wenger when they were together at Monaco and he said recently that both men share the same philosophy in terms of developing players.
But the manager also said, “This competition is an opportunity for Southampton to win something,” so it might well be that most of the team are experienced rather than younger players this time. Besides, Southampton used Josh Sims who is 19 in their match against Everton at the weekend so perhaps it is indeed this cup they are after.
Here’s the bits and pieces of sequences, runs and silly statistics…
- Arsenal’s last three home League Cup games against Premier League clubs have ended in defeat, with just one goal scored.
- Arsenal have lost four of the last five quarter finals in the League Cup they have played in. But…
- Arsenal have lost just one of the last seven League Cup games with Southampton.
- Southampton have lost all their seven league cup semi-finals
- The Ox is the top scorer in the League Cup this season (4).
|07 May 2003||Arsenal v Southampton||W||6-1||Premier League|
|17 May 2003||Arsenal v Southampton||W||1-0||FA Cup|
|29 Dec 2003||Southampton v Arsenal||W||0-1||Premier League|
|10 Feb 2004||Arsenal v Southampton||W||2-0||Premier League|
|30 Oct 2004||Arsenal v Southampton||D||2-2||Premier League|
|26 Feb 2005||Southampton v Arsenal||D||1-1||Premier League|
|15 Sep 2012||Arsenal v Southampton||W||6-1||Premier League|
|01 Jan 2013||Southampton v Arsenal||D||1-1||Premier League|
|23 Nov 2013||Arsenal v Southampton||W||2-0||Premier League|
|28 Jan 2014||Southampton v Arsenal||D||2-2||Premier League|
|23 Sep 2014||Arsenal v Southampton||L||1-2||League Cup|
|03 Dec 2014||Arsenal v Southampton||W||1-0||Premier League|
|01 Jan 2015||Southampton v Arsenal||L||2-0||Premier League|
|26 Dec 2015||Southampton v Arsenal||L||4-0||Premier League|
|02 Feb 2016||Arsenal v Southampton||D||0-0||Premier League|
|10 Sep 2016||Arsenal v Southampton||W||2-1||Premier League|
Since Southampton returned to the top league after a six year holidays in the second tier, we’ve won four, lost three and drawn three. Time to improve on that record I think.