The big boys from Manchester and London begin their League Cup campaign tonight
The third round of the League Cup aka Carabao Cup, kicked off last night and produced some amazing results. Five Premiership sides were knocked out of the competition, while another five progressed. The likes of Stoke City and Burnley were knocked out by lower league teams, while Brighton, Liverpool and Huddersfield all fell to fellow Premiership sides.
The reds were the biggest casualties from last night’s games as Tottenham were just able to scrape through Barnsley and maintain their interest in the competition. The ‘big boys’ will be in action tonight as the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Everton and defending champions, Manchester United will all begin their hunt for their first title of the season. I will be previewing all five fixtures that will take place tonight and what we should expect from them.
EVERTON vs. SUNDERLAND
How can you spend over one hundred and fifty million pounds and make a team worse than it was? That’s the million dollar question for Everton coach, Ronald Koeman as his side, a very decent team last season, have been struggling recently, despite the massive injection of money and lots of new faces in the off season. They sit eighteenth on the league table with just four points from five matches, haven’t won a game in their last six in all competitions and have lost four games on the bounce conceding twelve goals and scoring none in that dreadful losing streak. Tonight, they have a great opportunity to stop the rot when they host Championship side Sunderland.
The Black Cats are also not doing well as they sit in twenty-first position in the Championship with six points from eight games played so far. They are on a four match winless run and are struggling to perform at a consistent level. Koeman knows that the pressure is slowly beginning to mount and anything short of a victory against Sunderland tonight will see his tenure as manager of the toffees under serious threat, however, I expect Everton to win this tie.
WEST BROM vs. MANCHESTER CITY
The Baggies would have preferred to meet any other opponent apart from tonight’s foes at this stage of the League Cup. They are on an 11-match losing streak to Manchester City and the current form of Pep Guardiola’s team isn’t what Tony Pulis’ side will want to come up against right now. They have made a decent start to the season, losing just once in their 6 matches in all competitions, against the newly promoted Brighton. They have 3 wins and 2 draws from the remaining five. One of their biggest problems is their inability to score goals as they have scored only four goals from the five games they have played in the league so far.
Manchester City on the other hand are scoring goals for fun, they have racked up fifteen goals from their last three games and have conceded none. Pep Guardiola failed to win a single trophy in his first year in England and will take this competition seriously as he will want to make sure he gets his hands on some silverware this season. This should be a close game, but Manchester City should be able to get victory.
MANCHESTER UNITED vs. BURTON ALBION
The defending champions will begin their defense of the League Cup at home tonight against Championship side Burton Albion. The Red Devils seem to have banished last season’s woes of not being able to win games at home with some eye-catching football at the theatre of dreams already this season. They have scored ten goals at home in three league matches and have conceded none, which should really worry tonight’s opponents. Jose Mourinho has built a reputation of taking Cup games very seriously and we will expect him to continue true to form with this fixture. Burton Albion are in decent form considering their small stature in the Championship. They defeated Fulham 2-1 in the weekend to stop a run of three games without a win, but tonight they will be concerned with keeping the score-line respectable and not getting completely steamrolled by the Manchester United juggernaut.
CHELSEA vs. NOTTINGHAM FOREST
Antonio Conte will be happy with the timing of this fixture as it will give his team a chance to quickly get over their disappointing draw at home to Arsenal last weekend and get back to winning ways against a Nottingham Forest side that barely escaped relegation from the Championship last season.
After starting the season with a surprise home defeat to Burnley, The Pensioners are unbeaten in five games, 4 wins and 1 draw. Some of their fringe players might get chances to impress tonight which will be very understandable as the next two fixtures are away games to Stoke City and Atletico Madrid. Nottingham Forest have already faced and beaten a Premiership side in this competition in the form of Newcastle in the previous round and will go into this game with nothing to lose and that could be a very tricky proposition for Chelsea, but expect the Premiership Champions to get a comfortable victory tonight.
ARSENAL vs. DONCASTER ROVERS
The gunners seem to have recovered from their very abysmal start to the season as they are unbeaten in their last three games and they will be expecting to extend that run tonight when Doncaster Rovers come visiting. Since the 4-0 battering by Liverpool just before the international break, the Gunners have been playing some inspired football and we expect that to continue tonight at the Emirates. Meanwhile, Doncaster are coming into this fixture on the back of a five match win-less run in League One fixtures.
Also, they lost three on the bounce, all by a single goal margin. Their last win in a competitive game came in the second round of League Cup, when they surprised Championship outfit Hull City 2-0 at their home turf. Wenger is expected to rest majority of his key players as Doncaster’s poor run of form and the fact that the match being played at the Emirates will allow him do this with confidence. This should be a very comfortable win for the Arsenal.
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