The League Cup finds itself eight Wednesday matches away from the quarterfinals, with the following teams already through from Tuesday’s action:
Premier League: Bournemouth, Leicester City, Stoke City, Everton, Aston Villa, Manchester City
Championship: Middlesbrough, Hull City
Only Swansea City, Sunderland, West Ham United and Watford are PL clubs to have been dismissed from the chase for the League Cup, a title which guarantees the winner no worse than the UEFA Europa League next season.
In play today are the hopes of several big name sides, including Manchester United and Chelsea, plus a North London Derby on the Cup stage between Tottenham and Arsenal.
That one will see Olivier Giroud hoping to make amends for his UEFA Champions League red card by seeing off Spurs, and neither side winning would be a true upset.
But which PL sides might be ripe for the picking? The only other all-PL match-up is West Brom’s trip to Carrow Road to face Norwich City, so let’s assess the options.
Crystal Palace vs. Charlton Athletic
Palace is at home for the Championship’s 15th place side, which lost to Blackburn on Saturday 3-0. The Eagles did play Sunday against Spurs, so Charlton could have a bit more pep in their step heading into Selhurst Park.
Liverpool vs. Carlisle United
Shouldn’t happen in a million years, and would cost Brendan Rodgers his job, right? Surely a side that’s conceded 17 times in eight League Two matches can’t go into Anfield and win, right? Right Carlisle played Saturday, while Liverpool played Sunday. That’s something, I guess.
Manchester United vs. Ipswich Town
Ipswich are in good form — fifth in the Championship — but United will be keen to avoid another upset in Cup play under Louis Van Gaal, and at home. Ipswich, however, last played Friday, while United danced with Saints on Sunday all the way down in Southampton. Could this be a trap game?
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MK Dons vs. Southampton
The hosts are 20th in the Championship, and lost 2-1 to Leeds on Saturday, while Saints fell to Manchester United on Sunday. Upset could be in the offering here.
Newcastle United vs. Sheffield Wednesday
The midtable Championship side is going to get a full-fledged shot from Newcastle, who’s poor start to the season sees Chelsea on the league horizon. Look for the Magpies to give St. James Park something to cheer about, as taking this Cup seriously would send a proper message to supporters. The Owls beat Fulham on Saturday, while Newcastle also played Saturday.
Walsall vs. Chelsea
The third-tier Saddlers get to give their fans a glimpse of the big time, and have lost just once in eight League One matches this season. Walsall drew Peterborough on Saturday, the same day Chelsea toppled Arsenal. Even with the Costa and Carneiro stories buzzing around Stamford Bridge, look for the Blues to cruise.