By Harvey Byrne
Charlie Nicholas has predicted a tight 3-2 Arsenal win in their EFL Cup tie against Southampton at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The Sky Sports pundit believes forward Olivier Giroud will score first to help send his team on the way to the semi-final stages of the competition.
Arsene Wenger’s team are currently sat in fourth place in the Premier League table, while their opponents are occupying 10th.
Former Gunners striker Nicholas believes that Arsenal’s squad depth will prove vital in separating the two in the encounter.
“Well this is an awkward one for Arsenal,” wrote Nicholas in his column for Sky Sports. “They were lucky in the league meeting to beat Southampton, who recorded a very good result on Sunday.
“I do think the Saints will make changes which will make them weaker, although I’m sure Claude Puel would love a result against his good friend Arsene Wenger.
“You look at the players Arsenal can bring in and Aaron Ramsey can come in, Alex Iwobi can come in and Olivier Giroud will also be desperate to earn back his starting berth.
“The difference in the quality of players coming in will be decisive for me here and I think Arsenal will be able to end November with a win.”
Arsenal have not lost a match in 19 fixtures in all competitions.
Their most recent encounter brought a 3-1 victory following Sunday’s Premier League clash with Bournemouth at the Emirates.
By contrast, Southampton have won just one of their last four matches in all competitions.
However, they also played on Sunday and ran out 1-0 winners over former manager Ronald Koeman, as his Everton side left St Mary’s disappointed.
The top flight duo have already met at the Emirates this season with goals from Laurent Koscielny and Santi Cazorla cancelling out a Petr Cech own goal in a 2-1 win.
Arsenal will be keen for a similar result with their last League Cup victory coming before Wenger took control of the club in 1993.
In other Arsenal news, this Gunners senior man has shared his comeback target.