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LIVE, League Cup: Pompey v. Saints headlines action

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Plenty of Premier League clubs are in League Cup third round action on Tuesday, and plenty have to avoid upsets against lower-league opponents away from home.

[ LIVE: League Cup scores ] 

The game of the round is the massive South Coast derby between Portsmouth and Southampton at Fratton Park. It has been seven years since these fierce rivals have met and although Pompey are languishing in League One, they will fancy their chances of upsetting Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s Saints.

Saints haven’t won at Portsmouth since 1984.

Elsewhere, Arsenal host Nottingham Forest and Watford host Swansea as both PL clubs will be wary of upsets against in-form Championship clubs. Holders Man City travel to in-form Preston North End, while Leicester head to Luton Town, Spurs travel to Colchester United and Everton are away at Sheffield Wednesday.,

There could be shocks galore…

Below is the schedule in full, while you can click on the link above to follow all of the action live.


Tuesday’s League Cup docket
All matches kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET

Watford v. Swansea City
Preston North End v. Manchester City
Portsmouth v. Southampton
Luton Town v. Leicester City
Sheffield Wednesday v. Everton
Crawley Town v. Stoke City
Arsenal v. Nottingham Forest
Colchester United v. Tottenham Hotspur

Holding set to return from injury for Arsenal

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Rob Holding is set to return for Arsenal at Nottingham Forest this week.

The Gunners travel to Forest in the League Cup on Tuesday, with Holding back in the squad after nine months out through injury.

Arsenal simply said Holding is “back in contention” for the third round League Cup tie and alongside the likes of Kieran Tierney,  Dinos Mavropano and Hector Bellerin playing for the U23 side last Friday, all of a sudden there is good news in terms of defensive injuries for Arsenal.

Alexandre Lacazette is still out after injuring his left ankle, while Ainsley Maitland-Niles is suspended after his red card against Aston Villa on Sunday. Lacazette is expected to return in October, as Arsenal’s injury woes are clearing up.

Holding, 24, was in sensational form last season before he cruelly suffered a serious knee injury in a Premier League game against Manchester United in December.

This will be a huge boost for Unai Emery, as his defense continues to make basic errors and they’ve now given up 10 goals in their first six games of the new PL season.

Sokratis and David Luiz have looked shaky as a partnership and if Holding can regain his form quickly, he will be a guaranteed starter in this Arsenal side.

Before injury cut short his 2018-19 campaign, Holding was being touted as an England international.

The dominant center back will want to make up for lost time and his presence at the heart of Arsenal’s defense saw them go on a 22-game unbeaten run in the opening months of last season.

Following their battling 3-2 win with 10 men for over half of their clash against Aston Villa on Sunday, Arsenal sit in fourth place on 11 points. Considering all of their issues so far, that’s not a bad start.

They have conceded at least twice in each of their last four PL games, and Holding’s return should help them improve their woeful defensive record.

His injury had a negative impact last season, and his return should have a hugely positive impact this season.

League Cup preview: Newcastle v. Leicester; Forest v. Derby in 2nd round

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The second round of the 2019-20 League Cup kicks off on Tuesday, featuring the 13 Premier League sides not participating in European competition this season.

[ MORE: Premier League Club Power Rankings: Week 3 ]

Last season’s top-seven finishers, including defending League Cup holders Manchester City (winners of three of the last four years), will join in the third round, scheduled for the week of Sept. 23. The draw for the third round will take place following the conclusion of Wednesday’s second-round fixtures.

Newcastle United and Leicester City is the only all-PL tie of the second round, as Brendan Rodgers‘ Foxes are due to visit Steve Bruce‘s Magpies at St. James’ Park on Wednesday. Newcastle picked up their first points of the season in a shocking upset of Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, a day after Leicester picked up their first victory to keep their unbeaten start to the season intact.

[ MORE: Now is not time for panic at Man United… not yet ]

This week’s most heated fixture will undoubtedly be the East Midlands derby between Nottingham Forest and Derby County on Tuesday. The sides have met more than 100 times in the rivalry’s history, with quickly rising following Brian Clough’s appointment as Forest manager in 1975. Clough was Derby boss from 1967 to 1973, and it’s been nothing but deep, shared animosity ever since.

West Ham United will make the trip to south Wales to face League Two side Newport County, who in last season’s FA Cup knocked off Leicester and EFL Championship side Middlesbrough before they were beaten by Man City inside the final 15 minutes of the fifth round.

Tuesday’s notable League Cup fixtures (all games at 2:45 p.m. ET)

Newport County v. West Ham United
Crewe v. Aston Villa
Crystal Palace v. Colchester United
Watford v. Coventry City
Sheffield United v. Blackburn Rovers
Fulham v. Southampton
Bristol Rovers v. Brighton & Hove Albion
Crawley Town v. Norwich City
Nottingham Forest v. Derby County
Leeds United v. Stoke City

Wednesday’s notable League Cup fixtures (all games at 2:45 p.m. ET)

Newcastle United v. Leicester City
Lincoln City v. Everton
Bournemouth
 v. Forest Green Rovers
Burnley v. Sunderland
Queens Park Rangers v. Portsmouth
Swansea City v. Cambridge United

Junior Agogo dies aged 40

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Ghanian striker Junior Agogo has died at the age of 40.

The former Sheffield Wednesday, Nottingham Forest and Colorado Rapids striker played for over 15 teams across the globe in his career and represented Ghana 27 times and scored 12 goals.

Agogo suffered a stroke in 2015 which impacted his speech and he revealed to the BBC how he was suffering from anxiety over not being able to express himself.

It was announced that he died in London, England on Thursday.

Several of Agogo’s former clubs have paid tribute to the striker, as he played for Colorado, the San Jose Earthquakes and the Chicago Fire in MLS.

Aitor Karanka leaves Nottingham Forest after one year

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After just one year at the club, Nottingham Forest has released manager Aitor Karanka despite the club challenging near the top of the Championship table. According to a statement by the club, Karanka “asked to be released from his contract” and was granted his wish.

Forest currently sits seventh in the Championship standings, just four points back of the playoff positions and 12 points behind leaders Leeds United. They are also coming off a 4-2 win over Leeds that saw the team fight back from a one-goal deficit.

However, before that result the club had gone five matches without a win, allowing the teams in playoff positions to build a slight cushion.

According to many reports around the club, Karanka was clashing with ownership and the front office, and according to Sky Sports, Karanka became fed up with “outside influence disrupting his day-to-day team management.” Sky also states that the 45-year-old Spaniard “felt the lack of stability, control and constant speculation was affecting the club’s progress and players’ mentality.” That latter part could be in reference to heavy speculation surrounding his job status throughout December.

Karanka came to Nottingham Forest from Middlesbrough where he managed through a season of promotion to the Premier League followed by a relegation campaign that led to his departure in March of 2016 with the club in the bottom three, a position they would not recover from. He joined Forest in January of 2018 with the club in 14th position, and they would finish in 17th last year.

Karanka is known for bringing defensive tactical strength to his squad, but as a result, they often lack in attacking threat. The club has conceded 29 goals in 26 Championship matches this season, the sixth-best defensive record in the league, but they have 12 draws so far, the most in the league, and have won back-to-back Championship matches just once all year.

His departure means Nottingham Forest will begin to search for its 11th permanent manager since 2011, a notoriously high rate of turnover that is beginning to upset club supporters.