Here come the big boys.
The League Cup hits the third round this week, with clubs competing in European competitions joining the fray.
Two of those clubs get trickier draws, with Man City heading to the Hawthorns to face West Bromwich Albion and Liverpool off to Leicester City.
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What we don’t know yet is how seriously these clubs, or really most of the Premier League clubs, are going to treat the competition.
Do Arsenal, Liverpool, and Everton crave something shiny for their trophy cases? And what about clubs like Swansea and West Brom? Is making their fans happy worth the risk to their table standing?
It’s the 58th edition of the tournament, one in which Liverpool has appeared in (12) and won the most (8).
Manchester United is the reigning champion, having knocked off Southampton last season.
The League Cup has been a tourney which has produced some surprise European competitors, with Swans winning in 2013, Middlesbrough in 2004, and Birmingham City in 2011.
It also may be a chance for Americans to get runs. Bournemouth’s Emerson Hyndman‘s only bench appearance this season came in the League Cup, while Sunderland’s Lynden Gooch has been a regular sub for the Black Cats and could get a starring role at Everton.
Speaking of Everton, English-American left back Antonee Robinson is on loan at Bolton, and playing regularly at left mid for Phil Parkinson. Bolton is off to West Ham United.
Aston Villa vs. Middlesbrough
Bournemouth vs. Brighton and Hove Albion
Brentford vs. Norwich City
Bristol City vs. Stoke City
Burnley vs. Leeds United
Crystal Palace vs. Huddersfield Town
Leicester City vs. Liverpool
Reading vs. Swansea City
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Barnsley
West Ham United vs. Bolton Wanderers
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Bristol Rovers
Arsenal vs. Doncaster Rovers
Chelsea vs. Nottingham Forest
Everton vs. Sunderland
Manchester United vs. Burton Albion
West Bromwich Albion vs. Manchester City