An all-Premier League encounter awaits in the League Cup quarter-final on Wednesday as Arsenal take on Southampton at the Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners defeated Bournemouth 3-1 at the weekend to end an indifferent run of three successive draws across all competitions.
— Premier League (@premierleague) November 27, 2016
Manager Arsene Wenger is likely to rotate his squad for the midweek clash but will know that he cannot afford to take the Saints lightly.
Striker Olivier Giroud has been ruled out, along with Mathieu Debuchy, who left the field early against the Cherries on Sunday.
That injury poses a problem for Wenger, who has already lost regular right-back Hector Bellerin until mid-December with an ankle ligament problem; Carl Jenkinson is expected to deputise.
Other absentees include Danny Welbeck, Per Mertesacker, Santi Cazorla and Chuba Akpom, who are each yet to be set a concrete return date.
Lucas Perez is fit and will be included in the squad, whilst Alex Iwobi, Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin will hope to make the starting XI after being benched at the weekend.
Who's likely to be in the squad for #AFCvSFC?
We asked the boss…https://t.co/jmXceZpTaZ
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) November 29, 2016
Wenger tends to favour youth in this competition, meaning the likes of Rob Holding, Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Gedion Zelalem, who each played in the last round, could feature in some capacity here.
Petr Cech will be rested, along with second-choice keeper David Ospina, leaving Emiliano Martinez to start between the sticks.
Southampton continued their quietly impressive start to the season with a win over Everton at the weekend to propel themselves into the top half of the Premier League table.
FT Southampton 1-0 Everton
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) November 27, 2016
Youngster Josh Sims turned in a man of the match performance on his debut, but Claude Puel is keen to protect the 19-year-old and hinted that he would not be involved for the trip to the capital.
Sofiane Boufal and Steven Davis are available for selection after mising the win over the Toffees through illness, but the Frenchman revealed that Dusan Tadic and Matt Targett remain sidelined.
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) November 29, 2016
Jeremy Pied is already out for the season with a cruciate ligament injury, while Jake Hesketh, Alex McCarthy and Florin Gardos currently have no timeline for their recoveries.
Finding the balance between a strong line-up and allowing his players to rest is going to be key for Puel, whose Saints side are also competing in the notoriously demanding Europa League.
Experienced first-team players Maya Yoshida, Shane Long and Jay Rodriguez were all on the bench on Sunday and will expect to start at the Emirates.
Southampton will be looking at this as an eminently winnable competition should they progress on Wednesday, perhaps their best hope of a trophy since reaching the FA Cup final in 2003 when they were beaten by the Gunners.
Arsenal have priorities elsewhere and the winner could well be decided by the amount of rotation each manager deems fit.
Possible Arsenal starting XI (4-2-3-1): Martinez; Jenkinson, Gabriel, Holding, Gibbs; Coquelin, Ramsey; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Iwobi, Reine-Adelaide; Perez
Possible Southampton starting XI (4-3-3): Forster; Soares, Yoshida, van Dijk, McQueen; Clasie, Davis, Reed; Boufal, Long, Rodriguez