A shortened 2020/21 season could mean a tough cup schedule for Southampton but they could really take advantage in the long-term.
Dates to determine when each round of Carabao Cup and FA Cup would be played were released by the EFL and FA last week and Saints know that they will play at least two cup ties in all.
They will enter the Carabao Cup at the Second-Round stage and this game which will be played on either 15th or 16th September – in between opening Premier League meetings with Crystal Palace and Spurs.
As usual, Saints will join the FA Cup at the Third-Round stage.
Their first tie in this competition is due to be played on 9th January 2021 and between league clashes with Liverpool and Leeds United.
The condensed schedule will mean that progression in the Carabao Cup could mean games on three consecutive midweeks at the beginning of the season.
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This will add some strain to Ralph Hasenhuttl’s resources but could also be a real opportunity for a push for some silverware. It is becoming increasingly difficult to break into the Premier League’s European places so perhaps a cup run could be the thing that Saints go for this time around.
Despite rumours that the teams playing in Europe would not be involved in the League Cup this campaign, it appears that they will have to fight on all fronts once again – potentially adding to Saints’ chances in domestic football if others look to prioritise Europe.
The best cup runs that Saints have had in recent times were when they were runners-up in the League Cup back in 2016/17 and then advanced to the FA Cup semi-finals in 2017/18.
With more lucrative prizes to come from the Premier League, it is still understandable if Saints look to that before anything else. Hasenhuttl may use the cups to blood some of the youngsters that he wants to test at first-team level.
However, there is certainly nothing like a strong run towards a Wembley final if they fancy it.