While Tuesday’s EFL Cup Round of 16 matches saw a pair of second-tier teams clinch berths in the quarters, Wednesday’s games are all-PL ties.
[ MORE: Tuesday’s EFL Cup roundup ]
The headlines will be gained by the second iteration of Pep vs. Mou in a Manchester Derby, but all three matches have something for the neutral.
West Ham United vs. Chelsea — 2:45 p.m. ET
Both London clubs have issued statements begging their fans to leave the intensity to the players on the field, as the Hammers and Blues’ always percolating rivalry heads for the boiler.
Chelsea knocked off West Ham at Stamford Bridge back in August, but the hosts looked very good despite underwhelming finishing in this weekend’s 1-0 win over Sunderland. That said, Chelsea had no problem finishing at all when it clobbered Manchester United on Sunday.
This sets up to be a beauty.
Southampton vs. Sunderland — 2:45 p.m. ET
The St. Mary’s set sure would like to clinch another season of European football, and is four wins away from getting that done via the EFL Cup route.
As for Sunderland, it will take any momentum it can muster from Wednesday’s match. The Black Cats have been very poor, with just two points from its first nine Premier League matches, but handled QPR and Shrewsbury Town to reach the Round of 16.
Manchester United vs. Manchester City — 3 p.m. ET
The “primetime” match — by 15 whole minutes — gives Manchester United a chance to right several ships by taking down Pep Guardiola‘s clipper.
Neither side is in tremendous shape right now, though City remains atop the Premier League table. The tactics will be interesting as neither manager will have any interest in blowing off this EFL Cup Round of 16 tie.
City has won two of the last three Cups, while United hasn’t been to this tournament’s final since its last win in 2010.