We return tonight at the EFL in a quarter final home match with the Saints. It’s been an eventful 4 days for the gunners as they broke a run of 3 successive draws with a 3-1 home win over Bournemouth to stay within 3 points off the top of the PL table. Puel’s men are also coming from a 1-0 home win over Everton which lifted them into 10th position on the table with 17 points.
|Arsenal: Debuchy (hamstring), Giroud (groin), Bellerin (ankle), Cazorla (Achilles), Akpom (back), Mertesacker, Welbeck (both knee)
Southampton: Boufal, Davis (both illness), Tadic (nose), McCarthy, Target (both hamstring), Pied (knee)
It’s a shame we lost Debuchy and Giroud to injuries at the weekend but I expect Arsène to name a team with the right mixture of youth and experience. I will expect Carl Jenkinson to start at RB though Arsène might give youth player Maitland Niles a nod in place of Jenko. Gibbs is set to wear the captain armband against the Saints and feature at LB. In the central Defence, I expect a Gabriel/Holding partnership. A recall for Coquelin to partner Xhaka at the middle of the park is highly likely. I expect the attackers to be Chamberlain, Adelaide, Iwobi and Lucas Perez as the Centre forward. Emiliano to start in goal. This line-up should be good enough for this tie.
I won’t speculate on the players to start for Southampton because they are a massive farmhouse for premier league clubs as Arsène Wenger noted. They are the most successful at producing young talents in England since the last 15 years. Such names as Theo Walcott, Oxlade Chamberlain, Chambers, Adam lallana, Luke Shaw and Gareth bale should come to mind. Not to forget their excellent scouting network that scouted Fonte, Cedric, Mane just to name a few. So they are a massive club with massive potentials.
I believe that Arsenal playing at home in this round should provide an added incentive to the Gunners. The home support and the splendid Emirates stadium turf. However, Southampton should not be underestimated as we did in 2014 and were undone at home in this very competition at the third round. Arsène Wenger’s men must play with heart and passion, accuracy and commitment to ensure that Arsenal get to the semi-final stage and play at Wembley stadium.
Hull city beat Newcastle and luverpool beat Leeds United to book a place in the semis. Manchester United will play West Ham later tonight to decide who gets the nod. Let’s hope that the boys turn out tonight at 7:45 p.m. GMT and give a performance that will ensure the road to Wembley is cleared. COYG!! To a win!!
-Fair Play Gooner