For the first time in 30 years, Southampton will compete in the semi-finals of the EFL Cup after a fantastic 2-0 win against Arsenal on Wednesday night.
Jordy Clasie’s first goal for the club and Ryan Bertrand’s first of the season sealed a memorable win for Saints, as they knocked Arsenal out of the competition for the second time in three seasons.
Both goals arrived in the first half in London, as Saints showed a decisive clinical edge against the Gunners.
Sofiane Boufal, Southampton’s match-winner in the previous round against Sunderland, started, while Harrison Reed came into the midfield alongside Steven Davis, who missed out through illness against Everton, and Clasie.
There were also starts for Maya Yoshida, Cuco Martina, Sam McQueen and Shane Long, who had all started against Sparta Praha just under a week ago.
After his wonderful debut on Sunday against Everton, Josh Sims dropped to the bench, with only Fraser Forster, Bertrand and Virgil van Dijk keeping their places from the 1-0 win against former boss Ronald Koeman.
It wasn’t quite the 41 seconds it took Charlie Austin to net against Everton, but the opening goal did arrive early at the Emirates, as Clasie netted his first goal for the club.
On his 38th appearance for the club, the Dutchman hammered home from the edge of area after Boufal’s shot from a Bertrand cross had rebounded back into his path.
Much of the possession was Arsenal’s, but Forster had rarely been troubled before Saints were celebrating a second goal.
Once again it came from a ball in from the left, as Boufal teed up Bertrand, who found the bottom corner superbly after taking a smart first touch on the edge of the area.
A stern half-time talk from Arsene Wenger was evident, as the Gunners began the second half brightly, with Lucas Perez and Aaron Ramsey both having efforts comfortably saved by Forster.
At the other end, Long went close twice in quick succession, with a looping header going just over before Emiliano Martinez fumbled an effort from the striker, but the ball ran to safety.
Saints went even closer shortly after, as Boufal worked his way into the penalty area, but watched as his shot flew inches past the far post.
After his fine debut on Sunday, Sims was introduced with 20 minutes to go, and he twice went close to helping Saints add a third.
The Academy graduate saw a curling effort saved well by Martinez, before McQueen was denied by a clearance on the line after excellent work from Sims.
The two first-half goals proved to be enough however, as Southampton secured a place in the last four of the EFL Cup for the first time since the 1986/87 campaign.
Line ups not available