Southampton welcome Brentford to St Mary’s Stadium in a mouth-watering Second Round clash of 2020-21 Carabao Cup.
Both teams enter this match looking to bounce back from suffering away defeats in their opening league games of the new season at the weekend in Premier League and Championship respectively.
Mohamed Salisu could be set for his Southampton debut after sitting out Saturday’s away Premier League defeat at Crystal Palace due to a lack of fitness, having joined during the summer from Real Valladolid.
Stuart Armstrong remains sidelined with a thigh injury.
Brentford have no fresh injury concerns from Saturday’s loss at Birmingham with a full squad available for selection although manager – Thomas Franks is set to rotate his squad, with players recently away on international duty expected to be at least benched if not left out of the squad.
- Southampton are unbeaten in two previous League Cup meetings at this stage in September 1997 (W2), which the Saints won 5-1 on aggregate when ties used to be played across both legs in first two rounds.
- Brentford are unbeaten in three previous trips to St Mary’s Stadium in all competitions (W1, D2).
- Southampton have won two of last three League Cup clashes against Championship opposition (W2, L1), with their defeat coming at home to Wolves in August 2017 at this very stage.
- Brentford are unbeaten in two of last three League Cup clashes against Premier League opposition excluding penalty shootouts (D2, L1).
- Four of Southampton’s six goals in this competition last season came from different goalscorers, with Danny Ings the only player to score more than once as he grabbed a brace in the Third Round win over Portsmouth by a 4-0 result.
Ralph Hassenhuttl will certainly expect an improved performance from Southampton here because their defenders were simply awful at Palace on Saturday from lack of man marking to playing too high up the pitch, thus allowing Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend all the space to calmly cut in from the flanks once past the fullbacks.
Brentford meanwhile were just superb against Birmingham in terms of attack but a mixture of quality defending and a momentary lapse of concentration during a set piece cost them at least a point, especially as they have adapted quickly to life without Ollie Watkins who has moved to Aston Villa.
I therefore am expecting a cracking match if Southampton can rediscover their post-lockdown quality quickly and Brentford continue to cause problems with their attack, otherwise I can see the Bees winning this if Southampton’s defenders don’t show marked improvement such is the dangerous quality of Brentford’s attack.
Prediction: Southampton 0-1 Brentford
Result: Southampton 0-2 Brentford