Tonight sees two all Premier League EFL Cup Quarter Finals and one of them takes place at The Emirates as Arsenal play host to Southampton. A win this evening would mean that the victors will be just two games from a Wembley final next February but neither side can afford to look to far into the future due the tough test that they will face later on.
Both sides come into this game off the back of wins on Sunday and will look to use their respective positive performances as a platform to success and more importantly further progression in the competition. While for Southampton they will also look to avenge the defeat they suffered in the league earlier this season.
September saw Arsenal get all three points after being awarded a very soft penalty late on. That afternoon saw Oliver Giroud bundled over in the box but he won’t feature at any point Tonight as he misses out with a groin injury. While compatriot Mathieu Debuchy misses out with a hamstring injury which could see him out for some time.
Sunday saw The Gunners eventually stroll to victory over Bournemouth, Alexis Sanchez was on hand to score a double while Theo Walcott bagged the other. That win made sure that Arsenal didn’t lose ground on the trio of teams above them in the race for Premier League top spot.
Visitors Southampton now found themselves in the top half of the table thanks to a win over Everton on Sunday. They only needed 48 seconds to find the net against the blue half of Merseyside and that was all that was needed to earn all three points.
The headlines before the game would have been about the return of Ronald Koeman but the headlines after the game were certainly about the debut of 19 year old Josh Sims. He was on hand to create Charlie Austin’s winner at the weekend but it seems likely that he will be rested for the trip to North London.
This game will see two French coaches pitted head to head and Claude Puel would love the opportunity to get one over his fellow Frenchman. The question as always with this competition is how seriously will it be taken by the teams at this stage.
When you get this far you would imagine that both sides will be giving it their best shot. Arsenal will have the undoubted luxury of a deeper squad and therefore the opportunity to rest and rotate but if Southampton go with a full strength side then they could very well prove a stern test for The Gunners.
This could be a chance for Southampton old boys Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to shine against their former employers and in the latter’s case you get the feeling that he needs a run of solid performances to start knocking on the first team door again.
Arsenal will go into this game as undoubted favourites but that is not to rule Southampton out of this. Home advantage will be a massive boost going into this game and could very well be the deciding factor. I think it will be a close one but I imagine Arsenal to just about come out on top. Home win for me.