Arsenal face Southampton in the Third Round of the Capital One Cup. Arsene Wenger historically has used this competition to give young players and players on the fringes, a chance to impress. This trend will continue against Southampton, especially considering Arsenal’s busy schedule to open up the season.
They will most likely line up as follows:
Goalkeeper – Ospina
David Ospina will be handed is Arsenal debut. He will most likely feature in all cup competitions, as Wenger normally likes to designate his back up goalie as his “cup goalie”.
Right Back – Bellerin
Hector Bellerin will be handed his second senior start in an Arsenal jersey. Look for Bellerin to impress and prove to Wenger that he can provide adequate cover in an already weakened back four.
Center Backs – Chambers and Mertesacker
Chambers will slot in to the center back position allowing Koscielny to rest. Mertesacker will be given the start, as there aren’t any other viable options, and he does not take part in international duties anymore.
Left Back – Gibbs
Nacho Monreal is currently out with a back injury and his return is uncertain. Gibbs has been out with injury for most the season. Seeing as there isn’t another healthy left back in the squad, Gibbs will start.
Defensive Mid – Flamini
Flamini returns from injury and will deputize for captain Arteta. He will provide a voice and some physicality in the midfield.
Center Mid – Diaby
Abou Diaby was on the bench for Saturday’s match versus Aston Villa. Look for him to make his first start in an Arsenal jersey in over a year. He will provide the drive forward in midfield due to his exceptional dribbling skills. This is the perfect match for Diaby to prove to Wenger that the still has enough left in the tank to make an impact this season. This is also an excellent opportunity for him to build up much needed match sharpness.
Attacking Mid – Rosicky
Tomas Rosicky will also be handed his first start of the season. Arsenal will feature an experienced midfield, but a midfield that needs match sharpness. Rosicky will be the engine of the midfield. Look for much to go through him.
Wide Right – Chamberlain
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has made several appearances so far this year, but he is still clearly trying to regain form after his knee injury kept him out of the World Cup. Look for Chamberlain to improve on his current form and make an impact on this match. His speed and directness will prove an asset in this match.
Wide Left – Campbell
Joel Campbell will make his full debut in the wide left role. He can play centrally, however, his hold up play may push Wenger to play him out left. Campbell’s high work rate will also benefit Arsenal defensively therefore, Campbell will be most effective in a wide position.
Striker – Podolski
Lukas Podolski too will make his first start of the season and it will be an important one. After rumors throughout the summer claiming that Wenger saw him as surplus to requirements. Podolski will play with a chip on his shoulder.