LONDON — Southampton dominated a woeful Arsenal side at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday to seal a comfortable 2-0 win in their EFL Cup quarterfinal.
First half goals from Jordy Clasie and Ryan Bertrand did the damage but in truth Saints, who themselves made eight changes to the team which beat Everton at the weekend, should’ve scored more against an under-strength Arsenal outfit.
The victory sends Saints into the semifinals for the first time in 30 years, while Arsenal have now failed to make it past the quarterfinal stage for the sixth-straight season.
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After 13 minutes Saints took the lead as Sofiane Boufal‘s shot from Bertrand’s cross was blocked and the ball fell to Clasie who drilled home his goal for the club.
Southampton deservedly led 1-0.
Saints continued to look dangerous on the break with Shane Long using his pace and even though Arsenal had plenty of possession, they were reduced to long shots in the first half with Lucas Perez isolated up top.
Just before half time Saints doubled their lead with Boufal cutting in from the left flank and teeing up Bertrand on the edge of the box. The left back had plenty to do but controlled his low shot beautifully into the bottom corner. 2-0 to Southampton.
At the start of the second half Saints had two half chances as Cuco Martina‘s cross found Long but his header looped over and moments later the Republic of Ireland international sent in a low shot which caused Emiliano Martinez problems as he saved down low.
Following that the chances kept coming for Saints as Boufal dribbled into the box but his shot was deflected wide and from the resulting corner the ball dropped to Sam McQueen but his effort squirmed just wide.
Arsenal huffed and puffed as they tried to get back into the game with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain injecting some life from the bench but in truth Saints looked the more likely to score in the closing stages as they went close through Steven Davis and Long.
Oxlade-Chamberlain skied an effort over the bar with 10 minutes to go with Arsenal pushing forward at every opportunity but Maya Yoshida and Long blocked goalbound efforts late on and there was even time for Saints’ 19-year-old winger Josh Sims to have a shot saved and then tee up McQueen who had his shot cleared off the line.
In the end, two was enough for Saints as they booked their first trip to the League Cup semifinals since the 1986-87 season.