Solid Saints should avoid defeat at the Emirates.
Southampton have made a much stronger start to the Premier League than many expected under Ronald Koeman and look value for at least a draw against Arsenal at the Emirates in one of the more exciting-looking ties in the third round of the Capital One Cup.
This is not a competition that most of the big clubs take seriously until the latter stages and Arsene Wenger, in particular, likes to give youngsters a chance.
So don’t expect many of the Gunners’ starting XI from Saturday’s impressive win at Aston Villa to be involved against the high-flying Saints.
Joel Campbell and David Ospina will be pressing for a start and Wenger could include the likes of Tomas Rosicky and Abou Diaby while Yaya Sanogo has had a couple of weeks off but, otherwise, there could be a few unfamiliar names on the team-sheet.
Southampton are 3/1 to win at the Emirates and surely worth a bet at 10/11 getting a goal start on the handicap with the draw in 90 minutes available at 13/5. The south coast club have shrugged off the loss of some big-name players over the summer to make an excellent start.
The Saints 26/1 to win the Capital One Cup outright; certainly worth a cheeky punt ahead of tonight’s clash as their price will surely shorten should they topple the Gunners, who are 15/2 to lift the Capital One Cup in Wembley on March 1st, 2015.
Saturday’s PL victory over 10-man Swansea at the Liberty Stadium, which moved them into second in the table, was their fourth in a row in all competitions and they have only conceded one goal in their last five outings.
Graziano Pelle and Dusan Tadic have proved adequate replacements for the departed Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana while Toby Alderweireld, who had an excellent World Cup, has covered the loss of Luke Shaw.
Morgan Schneiderlin wanted to leave as well in the summer but has surprised everyone by buckling down and playing for his new boss, who has also pulled off a master-stroke in persuading England international Fraser Forster to move from Celtic.
Judging by the team that Koeman put out against Millwall in the second round, Southampton are going to take the Capital One Cup seriously – could you honestly say the same about Arsenal who will be back in action in the Champions League this time next week?
The in-form Schneiderlin may be a decent bet to score against what is almost certain to be a much-changed Gunners’ line-up at a generous-looking 5/1.
The match kicks off at 7.45pm on Tuesday, September 23rd at the Emirates.