It will be an all Premier League clash when Southampton take on Crystal Palace in the third round of the League Cup at the St. Mary’s Stadium. After a sluggish start to life under new manager Claude Puel, Southampton gained a solid momentum over the last week. The Saints thrashed Czech Republican side Sparta Prague 3-0 last Thursday in the Europa League and defeated Swansea City 1-0 on Sunday. They will be looking to make it three on the bounce when they host the Eagles tonight.
Crystal Palace are also doing really well at the moment staying unbeaten in their last four games in all competitions. The Eagles are on the back of a solid 4-1 win against Stoke City and will be high on confidence while travelling to the South Coast. With both sides in a decent form and willing to build a solid momentum, this game promises to be an entertainer.
Southampton will miss striker Jay Rodriguez due to a groin injury. Youngsters Harrison Reed and Lloyd Isgrove could get their chances to shine but club record signing Sofiane Boufal and Jeremy Pied are still out with injuries.
Yohan Cabaye is recovering well from a groin problem and could get some time on the pitch. Bakary Sako and Connor Wickham are in contention to start as they both are craving for play time. Defender James Tomkins picked up a knee injury in Sunday’s 4-1 Premier League win over Stoke, while Pape Souare will be out for up to six months after he was injured in a car accident.
Predicted line-ups and tactical setups
Claude Puel is likely to stick to his favoured 4-4-2 diamond formation. Summer signing Alex McCarthy is expected to get an opportunity under the bar against his former club. We expect the back four of Cuco Martina, Jose Fonte, Maya Yoshida and Matt Targett. Oriol Romeu will continue at the base of the midfield diamond. Reed and Ward-Prowse are likely to start as the two box to box midfielders. Isgrove is expected to start at the tip of the midfield diamond. Austin is likely to start up front alongside Shane Long.
Starting XI: McCarthy; Martina, Fonte, Yoshida, Targett; Romeu, Reed, Ward-Prowse, Isgrove; Long, Austin
The visitors are likely to start in a 4-2-3-1 formation. We expect Wayne Hennessey to start between the sticks behind the back four of Ward, Delaney, Dann and Kelly. McArthur and Ledley are expected to start in the middle of the park with Mutch operating as the number ten. Sako and Wickham are expected to start on the flanks while Christian Benteke should keep his place up front.
Starting XI: Hennessey; Ward, Delaney, Dann, Kelly; McArthur, Ledley; Sako, Mutch, Wickham; Benteke
Southampton win @2.00
Crystal Palace win @3.55