Southampton claimed a memorable 2-0 win over Arsenal in the EFL Cup at the Emirates on Tuesday night after the hosts’ manager Arsene Wenger made as many as 10 changes to his starting lineup.
- Arsenal 0 Southampton 2
- Gunners make 10 changes
- Clasie opens scoring
- Bertrand adds the second
- Saints into the semi-finals
Wenger’s plan to rotate his squad backfired spectacularly as his side had very little answer to an energetic Southampton outfit in the first half, with strikes from Jordy Clasie (12′) and Ryan Bertrand (38′) giving the visitors a 2-0 lead at half time.
The home side were much improved after the break, but it proved to be too little, too late as Southampton advance to the semi-final of the EFL Cup.
After a very nervy start to the game, the visitors settled first and showed some attacking intent through Sofiane Boufal around the 10 minute mark, but to no avail.
However, the away fans did not have to wait long for something to celebrate as Clasie arrived at the edge of the area at just the right time to receive the rebound from Boufal’s blocked shot to blast Southampton into the lead.
Arsenal’s best chance of the first fell to Mohamed Elneny, the only surviving member of the starting XI for the Gunners Premier League win over Bournemouth at the weekend, who delivered a free kick into the box and a Southampton player nearly flicked it into his own net.
The Saints high pressing line was causing all sorts of problems for an Arsenal side that clearly has not played many games together. Boufal was again the creator in the 38th minute, threading a lovely pass through for Bertrand, who took a touch before firing the ball low and into the bottom corner to make it 2-0.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) 30 November 2016
The hosts were much better after the break, and had their first on target seconds after the restart after Aaron Ramsey played the ball in for Lucas Perez, who’s shot was weak and easy for Fraser Forster to save.
They were at it again moments later when Carl Jenkinson burst into the box before squaring for Ramsey, who hit a decent shot, but again Forster was up to the task.
There was a moment in the second period where Southampton should have killed off the game when Shane Long shrugged off a challenge from Gabriel to get through on goal and just had Emiliano Martinez to beat, but failed to hit the target.
And it seemed like they might be made to pay as Arsenal found yet another gear in the closing stages of the match but, ultimately, the Saints defence were able to hold out against the late barrage and help secure their side a place in the final four of the EFL Cup.