Saints Preview – Who’s In, Who’s Out, Wenger To Shake It All About
After reaching Wembley with a well-deserved win at Anfield, Southampton look at the other domestic cup to build momentum for the rest of the season. Or that’s what you’d think but Claude Puel is having none of it. The fringe players who lumbered past Norwich in two dreadful ties will face Arsenal and given what will be our much-changed side, that’s great news.
It means a rest for key players while keeping others match sharp. Ospina will come in for Cech, and Danny Welbeck will feature. Could he start? It’s risky so soon into his comeback but he could as easily breakdown in a 20-minute appearance as he might in a 60-minute one. Arsène and the coaches know what the stats say; they will have listened (surely) to the medical team and from there, the decision is made.
Reading anything into Arsène’s media talk is a risky business; he’s hardly going to give the crown jewels away talking to journalists but it seems Welbeck will start. The centre of the midfield will be interesting with Xhaka suspended and Elneny with Egypt. Can he afford to risk Coquelin ahead of Watford, and more importantly, Chelsea? I don’t think so which makes you wonder who the pairing will be. Certainly Ox, but who else? A fringe player or push Mustafi further up the pitch. I’ll go with the former but god knows who.
Theo is back in the squad and that means he will start. At right back, Maitland-Niles did a decent job at Preston but I can’t see Jenkinson starting, given a likely move away from Arsenal this month. Wenger mentioned Debuchy so possibly him but there’s always the prospect of Hector Bellerin being given the chance to improve his match fitness.
There’s no doubt it will be mainly ‘reserves’ which suggests Lucas Perez will be on the left with Alex Iwobi moving into the middle? Or maybe The Jeff? Up in the air; there’s no point trying to figure the team selection out; just enjoy the match!