Southampton manager Claude Puel plans to rotate his line-up for the EFL Cup trip to Arsenal on Wednesday night (30 November) in order to have some fresh legs following the weekend win over Everton. Dusan Tadic and Matt Targett remain unavailable but the French boss revealed that both Sofiane Boufal and Steven Davis are ready to return to action at the Emirates Stadium.
The Saints travel to North London following a demanding encounter with the Toffees, which came only days after their Europe League defeat to Sparta Praha. Puel already made six changes in his starting line-up between those games and is ready to continue his rotation policy at Arsenal with hopes his side can progress to the semi-finals of the EFL Cup.
"Of course, I think it is difficult to play this game just after Everton, but it's always a good opportunity to give game time for all the players and to keep every time a good physical level," Puel said in the press conference ahead of the game.
"We can see this against Everton. It was a game with fantastic intensity and this is possible just because we can rotate every time and keep the players with good fitness. It's an important game, away from home, and I hope we can qualify at the end. It's important to continue – it's an objective for the squad."
The manager welcomes back both Boufal and Davis after the duo missed the win over Everton due to injury and illness respectively.
"Boufal comes back and Davis also," Puel said while adding that Tadic and Targett will continue on the sidelines. "Tadić is not available and Targett also, and for the other players we will see for the game. It will be different. Some players will stay at home to recover and other players can give a good performance, I hope."
The 19-year-old winger Josh Sims made an impressive full debut in the win over Everton, setting up Charlie Austin's winners in the 41st second of the game. However, Puel suggested that the youngster will be rested at Arsenal.
"We will see. I think for Josh it's important now he stays quiet and can recover, not just physically but also mentally," the Southampton boss said. "It's important he stays with a good spirit and good attitude. His work has just begun, it is not finished and it is important to keep him with a good attitude for the future."