Southampton host our Arsenal side tomorrow in the FA Cup, as they look to become the first team in over 30 years to knock us out of both cup competitions.
The Saints are revelling in their defeat of Liverpool in midweek, which has earned them a place in only their second League Cup final of their history, but the manager has called for focus ahead of the coming encounter.
The Southampton FC official website reads:
Claude Puel says there is no time for Southampton to bask in the glow of reaching the EFL Cup final, as they bid to keep the dream of a second Wembley appearance this season alive.
Saints triumphed against Liverpool in midweek, winning their semi-final 2-0 on aggregate, after 1-0 victories in each leg, but there is little time to savour it, as attention quickly turns to tomorrow’s Emirates FA Cup fourth-round clash with Arsenal.
While Puel is delighted that one day out at Wembley has already been confirmed, he doesn’t want that to detract from the importance of progressing towards another one.
“It was a great performance, but now it’s finished,” he said. “We have to think about the next game.
“It’s a fantastic moment for the club and all the squad. It’s a good reward for our strong work. It’s great for us to reach Wembley.
“It was a great performance in the semi final over two legs, especially with the second leg away.
“It was fantastic, but now it’s finished. It’s important to keep the good focus on the next game.
“We have no time to take pleasure. We just have to keep good concentration on the next game, because this is a competition we want to continue in.”
The south-coast club clearly look like they will be fielding a strong side for the match, and we will have to do the same.
I still expect a midfielder to get promoted to the first-team given the absences currently in the squad, but other than that we should be able to field plenty of experience in our XI as we look to deny our opponents the chance to knock us out of both cups in the same season.
Do we need to be worried coming into the game? Or does our recent form suggest we will have the upper-hand given the extra rest?