Arsenal square off against Southampton in the EFL Cup quarter final clash at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday and while the Gunners will be desperate to claim a victory from the encounter, manager Arsene Wenger is likely to ring out the changes for the clash – especially with the games coming in thick and fast over the next few weeks.
On the other side of the spectrum, a number of fringe players will get their chance to impress due to the anticipated reshuffle based on form, Arsenal are the clear favorites to win this even if fringe players are fielded.
Holding and Gabriel for Koscielny and Mustafi
One of the cornerstones behind Arsenal’s success so far this season has been the defensive combination of Laurent Kosicelny and Shkodran Mustafi and Wenger will surely want to protect his star duo as much as possible.
Therefore, both the players are expected to be rested against Southampton and Gabriel Paulista and young Rob Holding will be coming into the fray in the centre back positions. Gabriel and Holding have proven themselves to be a quality combination in the previous rounds and the two should do a decent job in midweek as well.
Gibbs for Monreal
Despite giving away a needless penalty against Bournemouth, Nacho Monreal recovered well and put in a solid display during the encounter.
Monreal has been a solid performer all season long for Arsenal so far but Kieran Gibbs has performed well whenever given the chance in cup competitions and the Englishman will surely look to do so when he is handed the opportunity to start on Wednesday night.
Giroud for Sanchez
Giroud can count himself very unlucky not to be earning regular starts, especially following his fine performances last season as well as in the European Championships.
However, the striker cannot complain too much as Alexis Sanchez has simply been in blistering form this season. All Giroud can do at the moment is put pressure on Sanchez by delivering good performances and the 30-year-old will be intent on finding the back of the net against Southampton in midweek as he is expected to finally start.
Ramsey for Elneny
Another player who has impressed at the European Championships but is struggling for minutes at Arsenal is Aaron Ramsey.
Even with Santi Cazorla out, Ramsey has not earned regular starts but he should do so against Southampton in the EFL Cup at the expense of Mohamed Elneny and the Welshman really needs to make an impact on the night to stake his claim for regular first team football in the coming weeks.
Iwobi for Chamberlain
Alex Iwobi enjoyed a wonderful run in the first team earlier this season but a poor performance against Tottenham Hotspur has meant that the Nigerian international has been dropped over the past few matches.
The youngster is expected to get his chance on Wednesday night in the place of Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain and he will need to seize it.