Arsenal are back in Cup action on Wednesday night as they will host Southampton in the League Cup Quarter Final. Arsene Wenger has opted for a rotated squad in this competition in previous rounds, but with the final just two games away, and Southampton a tough opponent, will he be tempted to bring in some first team players for this clash?
I take a look at what I believe will be the likely Arsenal line-up and what I think it should be, when the two sides meet.
Goalkeeper: Damian Martinez
Arsene has three very good goalkeepers at the club and he’s playing them all in different competitions to spread out the game time. For the League Cup it is Martinez who is likely to take the place between the sticks. The young Argentinean has done very well in the two rounds previous and after signing a long-term contract at the club earlier this month, he’ll be keen to impress and keep the club in the competition.
Defence: Carl Jenkinson, Rob Holding, Gabriel Paulista, Kieran Gibbs
Jenkinson was apparently not happy at being left out of the squad against Bournemouth, but after Debuchy’s injury Arsenal need him. Holding and Gabriel have not been given much game time but both deserve to be given some game time in this competition. Gabriel looks like he needs more minutes to improve, and Holding has impressed at every opportunity. Gibbs has been at least on par with Monreal this season so once again, deserves to start.
Midfield: Francis Coquelin, Granit Xhaka; Lucas Perez, Jeff, Alex Iwobi
I’d like to see Xhaka retain his place in the middle of the park as Arsenal need to find some kind of consistency in midfield and with Cazorla out I think he is the best placed midfielder to do that. Alongside him we can afford to start the fresh Coquelin, who sat out against Bournemouth. I think Jeff will start at number 10 and he deserves to do so, it will be great to see the Frenchman in that position again. On the wings I would like to see the fit again Lucas Perez and Alex Iwobi. It’s a big game for both of those players as the wide spots are up for grabs in this Arsenal eleven. If either can put in a good performance, then I can see them breaking into the team.
Striker: Olivier Giroud
After being left out of the team against Bournemouth, Giroud will once again be hungry to prove himself in the team. Scoring goals doesn’t seem to be enough to get him into the eleven with Alexis thriving as an all-rounder through the middle, so it is up to Giroud to keep improving and prove his worth. The game on Wednesday presents a good chance for him to do just that.