Premier League club Southampton will host EFL Championship promotion hopeful Brentford on Wednesday night in the Carabao Cup. The Saints head into the game following a matchday 1 loss in the Premier League against Crystal Palace away from home. Manager Ralph Hassenhuttl could use the fixture as a chance to get his team fit and up to speed for the league campaign ahead.
Thomas Frank’s Brentford are also coming off of a loss at the weekend. Brentford are one of the favourites to win the EFL Championship, but they started the season in poor form. The Bees were beaten away from home against Birmingham City, 1-0. The squad created little in attack against the Blues. Frank will hope the Bees can improve their fortunes on Wednesday night at St. Mary’s. However, Brentford’s aims will be to achieve promotion to the Premier League rather than a deep Carabao Cup run.
Wednesday night’s fixture between Southampton and Brentford will be the latter’s second match in the competition. Brentford progressed from the first round of the Carabao Cup thanks to defeating Wycombe Wanderers on penalties. That game came the weekend prior to the EFL Championship kicking off.
Both teams could use Wednesday’s Carabao Cup fixture as a way to get players fit. Which side will come through the tie and reach the third round?
Southampton conceded a 13th-minute goal to Wilfried Zaha at the weekend in their 1-0 loss away at Selhurst Park against Crystal Palace. Despite losing 1-0, Southampton had the chance to equalise late on. They tallied nine shots with five landing on target. Southampton registered 71% of the game’s possession, yet couldn’t breakdown Crystal Palace’s rigid rearguard.
Hassenhuttl could play Danny Ings in attack against Brentford to give him further opportunities to gain sharpness. The Saints had a limited number of preseason matches in the build-up to the league’s kickoff. The lack of preseason matches could be the catalyst for Hassenhuttl to field a strong team.
Brentford also conceded a first-half goal which led to their 1-0 lose away at St. Andrew’s. Brentford tallied 16 shots with four on target. The Bees kept the lion’s share of the game’s possession with 64%. They were chasing the game late, therefore, having more possession is likely to occur.
Against Wycombe Wanderers in the previous round of the Carabao Cup, Brentford also kept large chunks of possession. The Bees kept 73% of the possession and tallied 14 shots with four landing on target. Still, Brentford’s defence conceded a goal. Penalties were needed to sort out the winner with Brentford progressing 4-2.
Hassenhuttl has two players on the club’s injury list. Stuart Armstrong is ruled out of the game with a quad strain. He is unlikely to be fit for the next couple of games. Summer signing Mohamed Salisu could play in midweek. According to reports from St. Mary’s, Salisu is lacking fitness. Salisu arrived from Spain’s Real Valladolid in the offseason. His fitness is not up to scratch, but the Carabao Cup fixture could be used to help him get up to speed.
Southampton have not brought in many players during the offseason. Only two players were bought by Hassenhuttl. Salisu and full-back Kyle Walker-Peters both arrived on permanent transfers. There are rumours that Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho is “desperate” to sign Danny Ings before the transfer window closes.
Ings’ departure would be a huge blow if it does occur. He is unlikely to push for a transfer away from St. Mary’s as it is unlikely that he would be first-choice under Mourinho.
Frank is likely to rotate his side after playing two matches thus far in all competitions this season. The club sold Ollie Watkins to Aston Villa last week and Said Benrahma could be next. With the turnover the club may have, it could lead to a downturn in form this campaign in both league and cup matches.
\Neither team were able to find the back of the net in their opening league match. The Carabao Cup could provide the teams more chances to attack. Brentford played in the first round of the Carabao Cup previously. They ended 1-1 against Brentford. Southampton are a step up in competition. If Hassenhuttl played first-choice players, they could take apart the Bees defence.
Over 2.5 goals scored - BET NOW
There is a good chance that Frank will have a very different side this week than the one that played at the weekend. Brentford are ready to cash-in on more players. The turnover could affect Brentford on the pitch allowing Southampton to get the upper hand mentally before kickoff. These teams have a history against each other, but that is what it is, history. Still, four of the last eight all-time meetings between them ended with over 2.5 goals scored.
Danny Ings to score anytime - BET NOW
Ings was reborn last season under Hassenhuttl. The Englishman was free of injury for the first time in years and it enabled him to score 22 goals. Ings appeared in 38 games last season for Southampton and he tallied an average of 2.95 shots per 90 minutes. Against Crystal Palace on matchday 1, Ings recorded 3.00 shots per 90 minutes. In 2019-20, Ings posted an 0.50 expected goal per 90 minutes figure. If he is selected by Hassenhuttl, then Brentford’s defence could struggle to contain him.
Brentford were stunned by Birmingham City on matchday 1 of the EFL Championship. It is easy to believe Brentford will challenge for EFL Championship promotion to the Premier League. However, with so much turnover and their form to end last term, it is likely they will regress in 2020-21. If Brentford lose on Wednesday, which they will, it won’t be seen as a negative for the club. Promotion is what Brentford desire.
Southampton should claim the win in the end and move onto round three. Brentford will simply put all their eggs back into promotion to the Premier League.
St Mary's in Southampton will host the Carabao Cup second round match between Southampton and Brentford on Wednesday.
The Carabao Cup second round tie between Southampton and Brentford kicks-off at 19:45 on Wednesday 16 September.