Southampton Send Arsenal Packing In EFL Cup
1 December 2016 Sport
Southampton progressed to the semi-finals of the EFL Cup for the first time since 1987 thanks to a convincing victory over a below-par and under-strength Arsenal.
Goals from Jordy Clasie – his first for the club – and Ryan Bertrand secured victory for a Southampton side which inflicted a first defeat on the Gunners since the opening day of the season.
Manager Arsene Wenger, who has never won this competition during his 20-year reign in north London, had made 10 changes to the Arsenal team which beat Bournemouth 3-1 in the Premier League on Sunday and paid the price.
In Aaron Ramsey, Alex Iwobi and Mohamed Elneny, the Gunners had Premier League regulars in their starting line-up – but without Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil, they lacked guile and bite.
Southampton, who had only won once in their last 23 visits to Arsenal, deserved the victory and will play Liverpool in the two-legged semi-finals, with the first leg at St Mary’s in the week commencing 9 January.
Southampton, 10th in the table, will attempt to extend their unbeaten Premier League run to three games when they face struggling Crystal Palace on Saturday – the same day that Arsenal travel to West Ham for what could be a tough London derby.