Good evening! Southampton
and Aston Villa
will both be looking to secure a place in the quarter-finals of the League Cup this evening. The teams have just been announced, so let's take a look at the lineups.
SOUTHAMPTON STARTING XI:
Stekelenburg, Yoshida, Caulker, Van Dijk, Targett, Wanyama, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Juanmi
, Ramirez, Pelle
ASTON VILLA STARTING XI: Guzan, Hutton, Clark, Crespo, Amavi, Bacuna, Westwood, Richardson, Sanchez, Agbonlahor, Gestede
SOUTHAMPTON SUBSTITUTES: K Davis Clasie, Fonte, S Davis, Tadic, Martina, Seager
ASTON VILLA SUBSTITUTES: Bunn, Okore, Sinclair, Veretout, Ayew, Gil, Grealish
has made seven changes to his side following their 1-1 draw with Liverpool at the weekend. Gaston Ramirez
makes his first start in more than 18 months for the Saints, while James Ward-Prowse, Juanmi
and Steven Caulker also come in. With Sadio Mane suspended, Stekelenburg, Van Dijk, Wanyama and Pelle are the only players to retain their spots from the trip to Anfield.
With Kevin MacDonald
taking charge of the visitors on an interim basis following Tim Sherwood
's dismissal, there are five changes for the visitors. Ashley Westwood
and Jordan Amavi
come into the midfielder, while Ciaran Clark and Jose Angel Crespo are both given a run out at the back.
Here's a look at tonight's venue courtesy of the visiting side. Villa won't have happy memories of their last trip to the South Coast, having been thrashed 6-1 in May, with Sadio Mane scoring the fastest hat-trick in Premier League history.
Ahead of this match, the home manager told reporters: "It's all about the squad that you avaialble. We know about the difference between this season and last season is that, in my opinion, we have a stronger squad and we have more competition between players. Some players deserve to play and this is the opportunity for them to show they count in our squad and they give real competition to the rest of the players."
drops to the bench for the visitors, despite scoring in the defeat to Swansea City at the weekend. The striker told the club's website: "We have to find a solution. As players we have to be stronger to win games. We played we against Swansea but at the end it was zero points. We have to continue working hard now to pick up. No matter how we play, we have to win. We want to pick up victories and make the fans happy."
Aston Villa have secured the only two wins in their last 11 outings in this competition, needing extra time to get past League Two side Notts County in the second round, before beating Birmingham City last time out. The club did reach the last four just a couple of seasons ago, before suffering a shock defeat to then-League Two side Bradford City.
This will just be the second outing of the season in the League Cup for Southampton, as they were excused from the second round because of their involvement in the Europa League. It was a comfortable win for the Saints in the last round though, as they thrashed MK Dons 6-0. This will be Southampton's first home match in seven outings in the League Cup, having last played at home in the third round of the 2013-14 competition.
It's certainly been a busy couple of days for Villa, with Tim Sherwood
's dismissal announced less than 24 hours following their defeat to Swansea City on Saturday. Various names have been linked to the job since, the Kevin MacDonald
will be in charge for at least the next three fixtures.
Villa don't have the best record against Southampton in recent years. As well as the 6-1 defeat last time they met, Villa have just one win in their last six meetings with Southampton.
The home side are going through their warmups ahead of kickoff at St Mary's:
None of the three players that scored in the last round for Southampton start this evening, as Mane, Shane Long and Jay Rodriguez all miss out on a place in the squad. Top scorer Graziano Pelle
leads the attack though, with seven goals in all competitions for Southampton this season.
Goals have been few and far between for Villa so far this season. Scott Sinclair
has five goals in all competitions for Villa, although three of those came in the 5-3 win over Notts County. Summer signing Rudy Gestede
has shown promise though, with four goals.
For both sides, this match comes just ahead of another outing in the Premier League. Southampton host South Coast rivals Bournemouth on Sunday, while Aston Villa have a day longer to prepare for their trip to Spurs on Monday evening.
In case you missed any of last night's action, you can find all the details of Arsenal's exit from the competition and Chelsea's defeat to Stoke City on penalties here
PREDICTION! The players should be heading out of the tunnel shortly, so it's time for the prediction. Southampton clearly come into this match in stronger form than their opponents, but they are missing a number of their key players. A repeat of the 6-1 defeat suffered by Villa in May seems unlikely, but I can see this being another comfortable home win, so I'm going for 3-0 to Southampton.
is wearing the captain's armband this evening, and leads the teams out at St Mary's
KICKOFF! The away side get the match underway in front of a not quite full St Mary's
Pelle makes an early impact, but not in the way that the home side would have been hoping for as he's given away a free kick. The Italian looked to create some space down the right, but ended up bundling Leandro Bacuna down.
The challenged are flying in from the hosts in the early stage as Keith Stroud awards another free kick to the visitors, this time after Gabriel Agbonlahor is floored by a sliding challenge from Oriol Romeu. The visitors manage to work the ball towards the penalty area, with a long Westwood ball falling to Bacuna o the edge of the box, but he mis-cues while trying to get the shot away, leaving Targett to clear.
Villa win the first corner of the night, which Westwood delivers into the box at the second time of asking to set up Rudy Gestede
for a header at the far post, but the Frenchman's finish is inches wide. The visitors are looking lively early on though.
Yet more pressure from the visitors results in Bacuna trying to nod the ball in from the centre of the box, but his low effort is well held by Maarten Stekelenburg
Southampton finally manage to get the ball down the other end, with Targett and Juanmi trying to get involved for the hosts, but Sanchez gets in the way, slowing the attack, before Guzan comes off his line to clear.
Villa are soon looking to make a move back down the other end, with Alan Hutton
coming out from the back with a useful run down the right flank, but there's no-one there in the box to meet his cross.
CHANCE! Hutton is on the move down the right again, this time managing to pick out Gestede. The striker loses his marker, Caulker, with a quick sprint into the box, but can only head the ball wide.
Crespo attempts to clear from a cross in by Ward-Prowse, but he only gets the ball as far as Juanmi, Ramirez and Wanyama both have touches as the home side try to feed the ball back in from the edge of the area, but Villa eventually scramble it clear.
Villa are certainly doing a good job of keeping the home side quiet so far. Pelle receives a long ball out from Stekelenburg and tries to flick it on for Juanmi, but Hutton quickly forces the winger to put it out for a throw in. Aside from claiming one loose ball in the box, there really hasn't been a great deal for Brad Guzan
to do so far.
The visitors are bearing down on the home side's box again, with Jordan Amavi
getting the better of Yoshida with a run down the right, but the midfielder loses his balance before he is able to square it to Bacuna.
Juanmi suddenly bursts through the middle, with space ahead of him to run into the box, but he instead tries to set up Pelle, who isn't expected the ball to be squared to him, allowing Hutton to clear the threat.
Juanmi and Pelle are proving a lively pairing up front for Southampton, although they are still yet to force a save from Guzan. This time, the Italian plays the ball through to Juanmi, but Guzan beats him to the ball.
CHANCE! It doesn't take Villa long to force a corner down the other end, with Gestede the target man for Westwood, but Stekelenburg just beats the Frenchman to the ball, tipping it away for the home side.
Westwood is on corner duty again as Villa quickly force another. This time, Gestede does get his head to it, but Caulker just does enough to stop him getting the ball away cleanly.
CHANCE! Southampton are just trying to keep possession at the moment, with Targett using a throw in near the half-way line to get the ball back to Caulker, who finds Yoshida down the right. The defender manages to cross in for Pelle, who has ages to line up his shot, but blast his volley wide.
CHANCE! Villa almost have the opener following a lovely one-two between Bacuna and Westwood on the edge of the box, resulting in the former attempting to curl the ball into the top right, only for Stekelenburg to divert it away with a diving stop. That's easily the best chance of the match so far.
Yoshida and Ramirez work together down the right to try to set something up for the home side, but there's no way through for Southampton. Ronald Koeman
is watching on from his seat, and doesn't look too thrilled by his team's performance so far in this first half.
Westwood gives away a free kick in a dangerous position, tripping Pelle around 30 yards out. Ramirez lines it up for the visitors, but can only blast it over.
Pelle thinks he's through on goal with only Guzan to beat as Juanmi floats in a lovely cross from the left flank, but the assistant referee quickly gets his flag up. It looks like the Italy international has been wronged though, as he appeared to be level.
CHANCE! On the stroke of half time, Villa almost open the scoring as Gestede tries to head the ball in from close range following a corner, but the keeper is ready for it.
HALF TIME: Southampton 0-0 Aston Villa
So, the sides head into the tunnel after a goalless 45 minutes at St Mary's. There haven't been too many clear cut chances, but Aston Villa have certainly had the better of the ball in the first half. Ronald Koeman's side have work to do if they're to reach the quarter-finals again.
Surprisingly, Southampton had a fraction more of the ball in the first half, with 51% of the possession. It was Aston Villa who did more with it though, with six shots to Southampton's two, including two on target, while the hosts are yet to really test Brad Guzan
Elsewhere in this evening's matches, Liverpool and Manchester City are both leading at half time, while Manchester United and Middlesbrough remain level at the break.
The players are starting to make their way back out ready for the start of the second half at St Mary's. Just a reminder, if neither side break the deadlock, or the teams finish level at full time, we'll have extra time and potentially penalties to decide this fixture.
RESTART! Southampton get the back back underway.
The hosts are clearly trying to make sure they boss the possession at the start of the second half as Yoshida finds Targett down the left, before looking to release Juanmi into the box, but the visitors are doing just enough to slow the charge.
CHANCE! Romeu lays the ball off for Pelle, who has the bottom right corner gaping wide open in front of him, but a late intervention from Crespo does enough to turn the ball behind for a corner.
GOAL! Southampton 1-0 Aston Villa (Maya Yoshida)
What a strike from Maya Yoshida
to open the scoring for the home side, with their first shot on target no less. Oriol Romeu plays the ball inside to the defender, who takes a couple of touches before drilling it in low into the bottom right corner. Guzan just didn't spot it until it was too late.
Villa quickly try to respond down the other end as Amavi slides the ball forward for Bacuna, but Targett stops the Villa dangerman reaching the ball, leaving it to go behind for a goal kick.
CHANCE! What a goal that would have been. Juanmi floats the ball into the box from near the half-way line, with Pelle racing into the box to meet it. The keeper is worried by the delivery though, rushing off his line to claim it, and he's managed to clatter into one of his teammates in the process, leaving Hutton seemingly in quite some pain.
Just yesterday Yoshida vowed to work on his striking after hitting a fan in the stands earlier this month. It would appear his work has already paid off after he opened the scoring a few minutes ago:
Yoshida is on the moving again, this time attempting to set up one of his teammates with a low cross in from the right, but neither Pelle nor Romeu are able to get on the end of it. Villa quickly press down the other end, but Agbonlahor, who has been fairly quiet since the restart, can't get his shot away.
Amavi sends a brilliant pass forward to Richardson, who quickly crosses it in from the left to meet the arriving Agbonlahor, but the striker can only blast his finish straight at Stekelenburg, who hasn't had much to do so far in the second half.
CHANCE! Stekelenburg is certainly being kept busy now as Westwood make another pacy run through the middle, but he can't get enough power behind his finish, leaving the keeper with a relatively easy save. That's not the worst part for the Villa midfielder though, as he seems to have injured himself in the process.
It looks like Westwood will be alright to continue despite rather gingerly making his way to the sideline, as Villa make a second change, sending on Jack Grealish
and Jordan Ayew
in place of Jordam Amavi and Leandro Bacuna.
CHANCE! Villa have really upped the intensity after a quiet start to the second half from the visitors, with Westwood and Ayew eventually setting up Agbonlahor, who was in acres of space, for a curling effort from the edge of the penalty area, but the fingertips of Stekelenburg are just enough to deny the visitors the equaliser.
CHANCE! From the resulting corner, Westwood tries to find Gestede again, but his header is deflected behind for another corner, which is wasted as Clark handles the ball as it's crossed back in.
The home side are making a double change now as Steven Davis and Dusan Tadic replace Juanmi and Gaston Ramirez
, who have both put in big shifts in the first 68 minutes tonight.
Davis is having an immediate effect in midfield, with the visitors having barely had a touch since the Northern Ireland international came off the bench just a couple of minutes ago. He makes a move down the left, crossing in towards Pelle, but the striker is unable to get the touch.
SUB! Villa make their final roll of the dice, with Scott Sinclair, who has a hat-trick in the competition this season, replacing Rudy Gestede.
CHANCE! Southampton are clearly in search of a second goal to give them a more comfortable final 15 minutes, with Pelle turning brilliantly in the box after another good delivery from Davis, but the striker can't quite find the top corner. Davis has been just superb off the bench so far though.
Here's the moment Maya Yoshida opened the scoring for Southampton. As it stands, his goal is enough to send the home side through to the quarter-finals:
GOAL! Southampton 2-0 Aston Villa (Graziano Pelle)
Pelle has had a few near misses, particularly in the second half, but the Italian finally gets a decent shot away, and it ends up in the back of the net to double Southampton's lead. Dusan Tadic tees the ball up for his strike partner, leaving the Italy international to slice the ball into the bottom left corner on the volley. Finally, Koeman is out of his seat, celebrating as his side surely close in on a League Cup quarter-final.
Aston Villa aren't giving up just yet, as Grealish makes a move on the left before trying to cut it back for Agbonlahor, but the striker stumbles, allowing Wanyama to clear the danger.
Hutton tries to stop Tadic getting his cross in from the left with some rather physical defending, but the forward is equal to it, forcing a corner, but Grealish deals with it swiftly.
Grealish is involved down the other end just a couple of minutes after clearing a corner, lofting the ball forward for Westwood, but the midfielder's finish was always rising, and ends up several rows back in the crowd behind the Southampton goal.
Villa are starting to look a little weary in the final moments as Crespo leaves plenty of room for Davis to make a run, only for the Southampton midfielder to send the ball well high. Yoshida tries to get forward moments later, but he can't control the ball in time to get a cross in.
Dusan Tadic is on the move again, but he loses out after being challenged by Grealish, who passes the ball through the middle for Sinclair. Jordan Ayew and Sanchez both get touches as the visitors desperately try to give themselves some late hope, but Southampton have numbers back to make sure they can't get the ball into the penalty area.
Aston Villa have four minutes to try to rescue the tie, but it's Southampton who have the ball as the match heads into stoppage time.
PENALTY TO ASTON VILLA!
Virgil van Dijk brings Jordan Ayew down in the box, giving the visitors a late chance from the penalty spot.
GOAL! Southampton 2-1 Aston Villa (Scott Sinclair PEN.)
Scott Sinclair gets one back from the spot for the visitors, sending Stekelenburg the wrong way, but that's virtually it for stoppage time.
FULL TIME: Southampton 2-1 Aston Villa
Well, there was a bit of late drama with Scott Sinclair getting a goal back in the final moments, but Southampton's lead was never really in threat. The traveling fans aren't happy, holding up a "Lerner out" sign, aimed at club owner Randy Lerner, as the players head off.
The home fans are delighted though, with second-half goals from Maya Yoshida and Graziano Pelle sending the Saints through to the quarter-finals. They were both stunning finishes too. With Arsenal and Chelsea already out, and Manchester United struggling, Southampton will be eyeing some silverware.
So, that's all from this match, but if you want to catch up on all of tonight's League Cup fixtures
, and check back after 10pm, as that's when the draw for the quarter-finals will be taking place. Until then, thanks for joining me this evening. Goodbye.