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Wenger to field ´mixed´ side against Southampton

Arsene Wenger said he would field a strong but mixed squad in Arsenal’s EFL Cup quarter-final against Southampton, and that Carl Jenkinson is in line for a start.

Wenger also insisted Sunday’s 3-1 win over Bournemouth in the Premier League relieved pressure after three straight draws in all competitions.

Alexis Sanchez scored a brace for Arsenal, with his goals coming either side of a Theo Walcott header, meaning that Wenger’s side are heading into Wednesday’s cup clash at the Emirates Stadium full of confidence.

“We will have a mixture of youth and experience, but still 90 per cent of a first-team squad,” Wenger told the club’s website.

“We were in a winning momentum and suddenly you only make draws, so it gets a little bit in the head of the players. For us, I think it was an important step to win against Bournemouth, and having watched the game again, I think we played better than I thought after the game.”

Wenger feels Jenkinson is a player who benefits from having a run of games, and he is hopeful the 24-year-old will showcase his improvement.

“Carl Jenkinson will play. I rested him completely against Bournemouth because he played two big games and I felt he needed a breather. Sometimes, mentally three games in a week demands a lot. Carl’s back in tomorrow and we’ll put Gabriel in the centre, and then we will see for Saturday,” he said.

“You forget that it’s a big ask. Carl is very conscientious and it takes him time to play completely with freedom. He needs a run of games to play with freedom, so the fact that he can get another game tomorrow, I think we’ll already see a different Carl.”

Arsenal’s next Premier League clash comes at the London Stadium against West Ham on Saturday, with Wenger’s team sitting just three points off top spot.

Tue 29 Nov, 2016
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