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EFL Cup Final preview: Arsenal, Manchester City fight for different types of glory

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  • These two clubs have never met in a major Cup final
  • With a win, Arsene Wenger would become the 8th PL manager to win all 3 major English trophies
  • Sergio Agüero has scored in all of his last 4 appearances against Arsenal

For Manchester City, it’s the first step of a potentially record-setting season. For Arsenal, it’s the Gunners’ best chance at securing a trophy.

The two teams are fighting for very different levels of glory as the two meet at Wembley Stadium on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. ET. Manchester City, despite losing to Wigan in the FA Cup just a week ago, would still be on track for a Double this season with a win against the Gunners. Meanwhile, Arsenal is outside the Premier League top four, and – as they have done each of the past two seasons in the FA Cup – could salvage an otherwise disappointing league season with a major Cup trophy.

Both teams will be struggling with selection in certain areas. Manchester City is likely missing Raheem Sterling, who could sit out due to an unspecified muscle injury according to Pep Guardiola in his pre-match press conference, while Fabian Delph is suspended after his sending off against Wigan in the FA Cup. That means either Danilo or 21-year-old Oleksandr Zinchencko would start at wing-back. Zinchenko is the likely candidate there, having appeared in four of City’s five EFL Cup games this season so far and playing almost every minute of those four matches. Gabriel Jesus, who missed more than two months with a knee injury, could be ready to make his early return. Claudio Bravo will continue to play in goal for the domestic Cup competitions.

Arsenal, meanwhile, is without new signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan who is cup-tied to his previous club Manchester United, while Alexandre Lacazette is not yet recovered from his knee injury suffered in the North London derby, and Mesut Ozil could miss out with an illness. The Gunners are likely, however, to get Aaron Ramsey back in midfield after recovering from a groin injury, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang can return to the lineup after his own cup tied absence in the Europa League midweek.

What they’re saying

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on playing Arsenal twice in a week: “We will be happy if we win, sad if we don’t but after the game we have another match against Arsenal. We are going to try and maintain our level, but finals are different, it is not what you have done in the past.”

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on playing Manchester City: “Manchester City have so many players that you think you have to stop that it is better to focus on the team plan than rather than on any individual. It’s true that I always used to use this competition with a youth team. For us it’s an opportunity. We’ll play with all the regular players.” 


Arsenal has often come up big in hotly contested Cup matches, despite poor form in the surrounding competitions, so it would not be surprising to once again see Arsene Wenger hoist a trophy on Sunday to temporarily distract the fanbase and media from larger struggles. However, picking against this Manchester City team would be selection suicide, even after their disappointment against Wigan and considering the absence of under the radar star Raheem Sterling. Manchester City wins 3-1 with a pair of late goals to sink the Gunners, with a newly healthy Gabriel Jesus providing an influential injection off the bench in the final 20 minutes. Pep Guardiola raises another trophy at the site where he won the 2011 Champions League.

Carabao Cup preview: Leicester-Liverpool highlights Tuesday’s matches

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The league cup is back this week, now known as the Carabao Cup, and there are several intriguing matchups that will take place when the third round picks up on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Early stars of the Premier League season ]

Leicester City hosts Liverpool in the game of the afternoon as the Premier Leaguers do battle at the King Power Stadium. The Foxes enter the match winless in their last three, while Jurgen Klopp‘s side has suffered similar fate recently, including this weekend’s 1-1 draw against Burnley.

Overall, three of Tuesday’s matches include all Premier League clashes, with Bournemouth-Brighton and Crystal Palace-Huddersfield the other two meetings.

Outside of the PL, Championship leaders Leeds United travels to the Turf Moor to meet Burnley, who has started out strong in their opening five matches in England’s top flight.

Here’s the breakdown of all of Tuesday’s third-round matches.

2:45 p.m. ET kick off

Bournemouth vs. Brighton & Hove Albion
Aston Villa vs. Middlesbrough
Brentford vs. Norwich City
Bristol City vs. Stoke City
Burnley vs. Leeds United
Crystal Palace vs. Huddersfield Town
Leicester City vs. Liverpool
West Ham United vs. Bolton Wanderers
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Bristol Rovers

3 p.m. ET kick off

Reading vs. Swansea City
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Barnsley

League Cup preview: Enter the giants

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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.

[ MORE: Pulisic turns 19 ]

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.

Are Pep Guardiola, Antonio Conte, and Jose Mourinho looking at the sides as deep ones capable of maintaining a run for a double or treble?

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.

Tuesday matches
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

League Cup wrap: Southampton, Newcastle knocked out by Championship sides

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Last season, Southampton made it to the EFL Cup final. This year, it’s a different story.

The Saints were bounced by Wolverhampton Wanderers, 2-0 at home on Wednesday in the second round of the cup. Joining Southampton of Premier League sides going home early was Newcastle, which lost 3-2 after extra time at home against Nottingham Forest.

Four other Premier League sides did advance to the third round, as Stoke City, Huddersfield Town, West Ham United and Burnley all won their fixtures.

Here’s a look at the rest of Wednesday’s EFL Cup action:

Blackburn 0-2 Burnley

Cheltenham 0-2 West Ham

Huddersfield 2-1 Rotherham

Newcastle 2-3 Nottingham Forest

Southampton 0-2 Wolverhampton

Stoke City 4-0 Rochdale

EFL Cup Weds preview: East Lancashire Derby highlights slate

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Eighteen teams booked spots Tuesday in the League Cup’s third round, with Watford the lone Premier League side to take a fall.

Six more try their luck on Wednesday, the last day of tournament play before the big boys join up.

[ MORE: EFL Cup Tues. wrap ]

A sleepy big affair is the East Lancashire Derby between Burnley and now League One side Blackburn Rovers, a rivalry which has been staged in three leagues or competitions since the turn of the century. This makes it four, joining the Premier League (2009-10), FA Cup (2004-05) and Championship (six times since 2012-13).

Burnley has three wins and three draws since its last loss to Blackburn, which came via David Dunn penalty at Turf Moor in a Premier League match on March 28, 2010.

Make no mistake, Clarets goalkeeper Tom Heaton thinks it’ll be a fantastic affair (from burnleyfootballclub.com):

“And for the players. Make no mistake, we were all delighted when the draw came in,” said Heaton. “It’s a fantastic match we are all looking forward to. It’s a fantastic night as players, fans and for the club.

“We’ll be going there geared up to win the game and give it everything we’ve got. The new lads coming in will certainly get an eye opener for the atmosphere and how good it is. They’re brilliant games to play in, I’ve enjoyed every minute of them.”

If you’re surprised by the rivalry, you have company in Blackburn boss Tony Mowbray. From Rovers.co.uk:

“I have to say living in the north east of England, Suffolk and Scotland most of my life I never would have grasped that Blackburn and Burnley and the geography of how close they were to be honest,” he said.

“It is not something that has hit me in the face before of a huge rivalry and yet I can feel it from the people around the building who have lived here all their lives how important this game is to them. … We’ll give it our very best shot and leave no stone unturned in trying to get a result.”


Southampton, fresh off adding $19 million Dutch center back Wesley Hoedt, will host Wolverhampton Wanderers at St. Mary’s, one of four 2:45 p.m. ET kickoffs.

Also kicking off at that time is Newcastle United and Nottingham Forest at St. James Park, with USMNT fullback Eric Lichaj likely to feature for the visitors, as well as Rotherham United’s visit to Huddersfield Town and Cheltenham Town’s trip to West Ham United.

A quarter-hour later, the final two second round matches kickoff when Burnley hosts Blackburn Rovers and Rochdale heads to Stoke City.