The EFL Cup has already seen some shocks in the opening two rounds and there may be more on the way in the third round in what looks to be an exciting competition. In this article, I will be talking about the upcoming fixtures in the Capital One Cup round three.
Bournemouth v Preston– Bournemouth haven’t started the season as well as they would’ve hoped, with only four points from four games but the cherries will look to deadline day signing Jack Wilshere to add some spark in the midfield. Preston also haven’t started the season well, with six points from seven games including five defeats but both of their league wins have come against relegated teams from recent years in Cardiff and QPR, so perhaps Preston have what it takes to upset the odds.
Brighton v Reading– In the all championship clash there is no doubt who the bookmaker’s favourites are. Being at home and coming off a successful season last year combined with a solid start this season will be hard to beat. Reading’s form is a little harder to predict, they are hard to write off but have become known for inconsistency in recent years. They could beat or lose to anyone on their day.
Derby v Liverpool– The last time these two teams played was nine seasons ago and it didn’t end well for Derby, in a terrible season for the Rams, they lost 2-1 at home and got battered 6-0 away. The Rams will not be taking any confidence from previous fixtures against Liverpool. Derby haven’t started the season well as they currently sit in 20th place in the Championship having only win so far. The Reds are in fourth with three wins from five, with all three of their wins coming from big games against Leicester at home and Arsenal and Chelsea away. Based on the full-strength team Jurgen Klopp fielded against Burton Albion in the previous round, Liverpool are taking this competition seriously, don’t expect an upset here.
Everton v Norwich– Both these sides had convincing victories at home to lower league sides in the previous round, Everton played Yeovil Town at home and comfortably sailed through 4-0 against the league two side. Norwich had Coventry at home and hammered them 6-1, so with both teams on scoring form in this competition, this could be an interesting tie.
Leeds v Blackburn– Another all championship tie and a potential relegation battle in the league this season. Both sides appointed brand new managers in the summer but currently sit in the bottom half. Leeds sitting in 15th with three wins from eight while Blackburn sit 23rd only off the bottom of the table courtesy of goal difference. One of their only wins this season came in the previous round against League two Crewe in a 4-3 thriller after extra time. These sides have already played each other at Elland Road this season with Leeds coming out on top in a 2-1 win so they will be confident of repeating the feat.
Leicester v Chelsea– This televised fixture is probably not the tie either sets of fans would’ve been hoping for as Chelsea have started the season well and Leicester being one of the toughest places to visit in England. This tie will see the last two Premier League champions battling it out for a place in the fourth round, this isn’t the competition these teams will be prioritising but they surely wont be turning the opportunity down. Both will be out to repeat their recent exploits in the league, while Leicester will also be desperate to progress in the Champions League. This tie saw former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho sacked last season as Chelsea lost 2-1 to Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez goals and Leicester will be hoping to repeat that result in this tie and if anything prove to N’Golo Kante that he made the wrong decision. The reception he receives will be an intriguing part of this tie.
Newcastle v Wolves– This is probably the most interesting of the all-Championship ties with both teams doing great business in the transfer window and both hoping for a return to the Premier league. Newcastle went into this weekend as a team in top form but their winning run was abruptly ended by this exact opposition. They will be keen for instant revenge on Tuesday night and to get back to winning ways in front of their home fans.
Nottingham Forest v Arsenal– The interesting spectacle of this tie is ‘Lord Bendtner’ playing against his former side. All eyes will be on the former Arsenal striker. Both teams have had a mediocre start to the season but Arsenal are back to full strength and Nottingham Forest have bought players in positions where they needed to improve, so this tie looks to be an interesting one for both sets of fans and certainly from the neutral point of view. You would have to back Arsenal but with their erratic form who knows what will happen.
Fulham v Bristol City– The fourth and last all Championship tie sees Bristol city travel to London side Fulham. Bristol city currently sit in the middle of the table after a solid start to the season and Fulham are in sixth place and have started the season rather impressively considering they lost their two top goalscorers from last season, Ross McCormack for £14m to Aston Villa and Moussa Dembele to Celtic on a free transfer due to him not signing a new deal. Bristol city also lost their top goal scorer from last season, Jonathan Kodjia, also to Aston Villa for £15m. However, they have managed to replace him with the loan signing of Chelsea wonder-kid Tammy Abraham, who is on fire with 8 goals in 9 games this season.
Northampton v Manchester United– Wednesday’s televised game is a European Giant versus a newly promoted League One team. I’m sure all Northampton and neutral fans will be hoping for a massive upset. Without a shadow of a doubt Manchester United are favourites for this tie but Northampton have just come off the back of a 31-game unbeaten run in all competitions, the record stretched back to the 19th December where they lost to Portsmouth 2-1 at Sixfields.
QPR v Sunderland– This sort of tie will usually go one of two ways, either a boring goalless game that isn’t interesting at all or a goal fest. Both of these teams had extremely underwhelming seasons last year and will both be looking for an improvement this year and to kick-start their seasons with another victory in the EFL Cup.
Southampton v Crystal Palace– These sides drew each other in last year’s FA Cup third round. Crystal Palace won that tie last year and went on a run to the final and will surely be hoping to do the same in this competition. Southampton will not be hoping for a repeat of that tie but will be hoping for a repeat of their Premier League game at St Mary’s last season where they won 4-1.
Swansea v Manchester City– Swansea have started this season rather poorly with two wins from six games in all competitions and they are yet to win at home this season with both wins coming away at Burnley on the opening day and an impressive 3-1 victory away at inconsistent Peterborough. Manchester City have won all 7 of their competitive games this season under Pep Guardiola, they have won five games in the league with impressive victories at Stoke away and their rivals Manchester United away. The other three wins have came in the Champions League with an unbelievable 5-0 victory away at former European champions Steaua Bucharest in the playoff first leg.
West Ham v Accrington Stanley– West Ham have had an up and down year in 2016 after having the high of moving into the Olympic Stadium and finishing in a Europa League place and then lows of a poor start to the season, being knocked out of the Europa League in the play-off rounds. Things only got worse at the weekend when they were stuffed at West Brom, they were 4-0 down after not even an hour. Accrington have also had an up and down year with ups of receiving their personal highest points tally in the Football League of 85 and beating Burnley live on Sky Sports and lows of losing out on automatic promotion by a single goal and losing in the play offs.
Stoke v Hull– These two sides are at opposite ends of the table but not at the ends football fans had been expecting in pre-season. Stoke are sitting at the foot of the table in 20th after being early favourites for a Europa League place with great signings and the amount of Champions League winners in their squad. Hull City are sitting in 8th with only one defeat to early title favourites Manchester United, they had been favourites to finish dead last because of owner issues, no permanent manager and a lack of transfer activity in the summer. You could see people’s reasons but they have got off to a lightning start with a victory on the opening day against Premier League champions Leicester at The King Power Stadium.
Tottenham v Gillingham– These two sides are very different, Tottenham are usually very consistent and have only lost once in all competitions this year and that was at Wembley against Monaco in their Champions League tie. Gillingham are one of the most inconsistent sides in the Football League, after winning their first three games and drawing the next one, out of the blue they were soundly beaten 5-0 away at Scunthorpe, only to go onto knock Watford out of the EFL Cup with a 2-1 victory away at Vicarage Road. They then were 2-0 down at half time in their next match away at Shrewsbury and ended up winning 3-2 before losing 2-1 to League Two Luton in the Checkatrade.com trophy. The Gills have a Spurs contingent in their ranks. Former Tottenham youth player Emmanuel Osadebe is an up and coming player at Priestfield, The other one is manager Justin Edinburgh who is a former Tottenham left back, he played for the club between 1990-2000 and has made no secret of his happiness at the draw.