Southampton beat Liverpool to reach the final of the Capital One Cup last night, sending out a message to Arsenal in the process.
The Saints knocked the Gunners out of the Capital One Cup in the quarter final, before beating Liverpool 1-0 in both the home and away legs to qualify for their first League Cup final since 1979.
They will now have every reason to be confident in their abilities heading into the weekend’s FA Cup tie with us, but how strong a side will we field?
We generally use the cup competitions to field players who are enjoying less first-team action than the others, and one player who I’m certain will be rested regardless of how serious we take the challenge is Petr Cech.
Lucas Perez should be guaranteed a role in the weekend’s match-up also, but players like Jeff Reine-Adelaide, Ashley Maitland-Niles and Rob Holding may well have to start the game from the bench.
The trio of youngsters have enjoyed roles in the side this season, but Wenger will likely be keen to avoid being knocked out of another competition by the Saints, and will likely opt to field some more experienced players for the tough trip to St Marys.
The home side may well opt to make some changes of their own, having played late on Wednesday before an early Saturday kick off, but I have no doubts that they will be keen on fielding a strong side against us with a comfortable mid-table finish in the league looking likely.
With Granit Xhaka, Santi Cazorla and Mohamed Elneny all unavailable for the coming weeks, there may well be room to give Maitland-Niles another run out in midfield, instead of risking both Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin in the cup, but other than that, I expect a more than strong enough team.
Should we be looking to give experience to some youngsters in this match? Or should we be going all-out for the tough trip to the Saints?