Chambers To Score Against Old Club? Match Prediction & Preview
Arsenal vs Southampton Match Preview – League Cup – 23.09.14
After a positive weekend for The Arsenal, with many results going their way and the additional “LOLs” and “BANTZ” of seeing a top heavy United humbled at the hands of the Foxes, Wenger’s team begin their Capital One Cup campaign with a home tie against in form Southampton.
The manager is likely to ring the changes and after a successful FA Cup run last season ending the 9 year wait for a trophy it’s not beyond imagination to conceive a return to Wenger’s old view of the League Cup – a competition for blooding younger players.
It won’t be a complete reversal of approach as Wenger has players returning to fitness and experienced players chomping at the bit to get a start in this creatively rich Arsenal side. Tomas Rosicky, Lukas Podolski and “old hat” Francis Coquelin will be pushing for starts and youngsters like Joel Campbell, Isaac Hayden and Hector Bellerin will be hoping for more minutes.
The big news is the probable return of Abou Diaby who is fit once again and looking to kickstart his Arsenal career with some much needed minutes in a relatively unimportant game (in the grand scheme of things). I have mixed feelings about Diaby, we all know what he is capable of and how he is exactly the type of player we need in our midfield – strong, athletic, tall, fast, good on the ball etc – but we’ve been waiting so long for him to be that player for us on a hebdomadal basis that I regularly forget that we actually have him.
The cycle of Diaby is like the DVD menu loop of a Hollywood blockbuster and some silly bastard has lost the remote. The music starts, a few nondescript scenes from the movie fade in and then BAM, an explosion – all good Hollywood movies have an explosion – and people and cars are thrown through the air and then a massive alien, dinosaur, monster, robot, superhero thing bursts onto the scene and you think “man, this is going to be epic” and the play option flashes enticingly at the bottom of your screen before it all abruptly ends and the loop starts again.
We’re still looking for the bloody remote so we can press play on this bad boy and get blown away by the sheer epic awesomeness we know awaits beyond that pesky menu screen. Hopefully, for the thousandth time, this will be time we find the remote but knowing Diaby’s luck we’ll find the bugger only for disappointment to rise like a glorious Turd Phoenix as we find out the batteries are flat and we have to wait for someone to run to the 7/11 to buy some new ones.
Whatever happens it will be a good run out for Diaby and our young players as Southampton are sure to play a style of football we can agree with. As far as the club is concerned this is probably an extremely low priority game but as a supporter I want us to win it and ideally take the trophy in February.
With a thin squad and important games looming you can forgive the club for not taking this match as seriously as us fans do but even if we won it people would just dismiss it as Mickey Mouse like they did the Community Shield.
Calum Chambers is likely to face his old paymasters and childhood club a lot sooner than probably expected but the rest of the starting line-up from Aston Villa will either be benched or in the stands. Nacho Monreal (back injury) won’t be back until after the next international break so Coquelin may be asked to fill in at left-back.
Ospina will make his debut between the sticks and Diaby is nailed on for his first start for the first team in 2014. The other nine starters will be made up from: Rosicky, Podolski, Wilshere, Flamini, Chambers, Campbell, Coquelin, Cazorla, Akpom, Bellerin, Hayden, Ajayi and Mertesacker with Martinez the goalkeeping option on the bench.
Ospina, Bellerin, Hayden, Chambers, Coquelin, Diaby, Flamini, Rosicky, Podolski, Campbell, Akpom
I expect to see substitute appearances from Cazorla, Wilshere and possibly Ajayi.
“Diaby is a giant, mentally. To do what he has done, with the severe injuries he has had… he comes back every time, is dedicated and he deserves a lot of respect.” – Arsène Wenger
Last 3 Meetings
- Southampton 2 – 2 Arsenal – Premier League 28.01.14
- Arsenal 2 – 0 Southampton – Premier League 23.11.13
- Southampton 1 – 1 Arsenal – Premier League 01.01.13
Arsenal Last 5
Southampton Last 5
Southampton are clearly in better form but it can be argued that Arsenal have faced the sterner opposition. It will be an interesting match.
Southampton have been doing well in the Premier League, currently sat in 2nd place, and so far have shaken off any doubts about their ability to compete after losing so much of their playing talent – and their manager – over the summer. The new manager has come in, revitalised the team with new signings and has them playing well and picking up points.
The danger man for Southampton could be rumoured Gunners target, Morgan Schneiderlin, who was widely tipped to leave this summer and even went as far as kicking up a stink on twitter when his request to leave was denied. Schneiderlin and Koeman seem to have put that behind them and Morgan has been a key figure in Southampton’s early successes and has even added a few goals to his game. Longer term it’s unclear whether that will have the “Alex Song effect” on his career as it’s rare for defensive minded midfielders to get on the scoresheet so often and one can only hope that if Arsenal go back in for him in January as rumoured he doesn’t do a Song and get a taste for going forward too much and at the expense of his defensive duties however he can leave as many gaps as he likes tonight!
- Arsenal are unbeaten against Southampton in 10 matches
- Southampton are unbeaten since losing to Liverpool on the opening day
- Arsenal have played Southampton four times in the league cup previously, winning all four ties.
Southampton may have too much for the Gunners if Arsenal play an overly green team but with the right balance of fringe and youth players Arsenal could nick this one. I’m going for a tense 2-1 to Arsenal, Schniederlin with the opener, Podolski with the equaliser and Chambers with a Lampard-esque goal in the dying minutes from a set-piece.
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