We've another night full of football coming up on Wednesday evening with five clashes in the EFL Cup. Will David beat Goliath, will there be an upset or will it be routine wins for the big heads and progression into the next round? We're going through each of the five fixtures to pick out the best bets for you...
Norwich will have been boosted by their derby win against Ipswich Town at the weekend and will have a large following from their supporters for the trip to the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday evening. And they may head home happy as well, with Arsene Wenger likely to leave a few of his first team regulars out and play fringe players against the Championship side. Jack Wilshere scored a terrific team goal when the two met in the Premier League a few seasons ago and he’s likely to start against the Canaries in north London.
The last time Norwich won away at Arsenal was 25 years ago and with one win in the 17 meetings since then, it shows what an uphill task Daniel Farke’s men have in midweek. He’ll probably go full strength for the trip to the capital despite a fairly quick turnaround after playing on Sunday. They’ll go to the Emirates with nothing to lose but we still fancy the hosts to have too much for the Canaries on a big pitch.
This has all the ingredients of an upset in the west country as ex-Bristol City boss Roy Hodgson heads back to Ashton Gate with his Crystal Palace side who are still yet to score – let alone – win away from home this season in all competitions. Hodgson’s first job in England was at Bristol City in 1982, but he didn’t last long and opted to continue his managerial career abroad. The hosts have scored goals for fun this season but struggled in their 0-3 defeat to Leeds United at the weekend and will be aiming to bounce back in the cup.
It’s been four years since these two last me – in this exact competition at Ashton Gate – with Palace running out narrow victors, however times have changed and it’s also worth noting that that win was just the first in the south Londoners’ last 11 trips there, with Bristol City winning six of them. An upset on the cards – especially considering it’s likely Hodgson will rest a few for the clash in the west.
Sergio Aguero’s likely to start this one and with just one goal needed to break Manchester City’s all time goalscoring record, it really wouldn’t surprise anyone if he did it on Tuesday night when Wolves visit the Etihad Stadium. Pep Guardiola needs a trophy of any kind this term following a barren run last season and will see the EFL Cup as realistic silverware for his side – particularly as it’s the first trophy that could be won this term.
But Wolves have had a strong start to the campaign and have players capable of hurting City, including the Portuguese duo Diogo Jota and Ruben Neves. They’ve played some great stuff under Nuno Espirito Santo this season so this should be a clash for the football purists. Wolves haven’t won away to Manchester City since 1999 with City winning the last four matches in all competitions. You’d have to fancy City for this one but if it’s still 0-0 with an hour gone, Wolves may hunt an upset.
A Ronald Koeman-less Everton head to Stamford Bridge in the hope of actually getting a win under their belts to kickstart their season. However, it’s unfortunate that the Toffees will come across a Chelsea side who appear to have gotten over the mini-crisis that seemed to be going down at the west London club following defeat to Crystal Palace and a Champions League draw at home to Roma. This is another competition where many will fancy the Blues to win but a lot depends on Antonio Conte’s priorities and whether he’s putting all his eggs in the Premier League and Champions League baskets.
For Everton, any win will do and any performance will suffice. They’ve been dreadful this season despite spending over £100m and with a caretaker manager in charge for the trip south, the result will depend on the team selection on Wednesday evening and whether it’ll be a strong first team or a youthful second string eager to put in a performance in the capital. Chelsea have been triumphant in the last three meetings against the Merseysiders, with Everton scoring not a single goal in those trio of matches. Not a bad record at all for Conte at Chelsea.
Our final hotpick looks to be a classic London derby between two sides who, let’s face it, don’t really like each other. These two met at the London Stadium just a few weeks ago and this time around the national stadium is the venue with West Ham United heading to Wembley to tackle Spurs, who have shown excellent form in recent weeks. The hosts may well be without Harry Kane for the cup clash, which will be a boost for the Hammers heading into this one and the home side may also rest a couple of their star names with a trip to Manchester United at Old Trafford coming at the weekend in the Premier League.
The visitors will look to bounce back from that disappointing result against Brighton & Hove Albion on Friday night with the pressure back on Slaven Bilic for the 274th time this season and in truth the Croatian boss couldn’t have picked a tougher tie. West Ham will look at this one as a realistic cup to win and with the situation as it is for Bilic and with his job supposedly on the line, you’d expect him to go with his strongest side rather than rotate and get completely knocked out. An intriguing clash that will probably be won on the team selections of both sides.
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