- There are some heavyweight clashes coming up
- Home advantage could make the difference in some of the evenly matched ties
- Five non-Premier League teams remain in the competition
The Carabao Cup is back this midweek, with 16 teams left fighting for the chance to go to Wembley in search of a trophy. There are five sides from outside the Premier League still involved and there are some very tasty clashes. Here, we look at four of them and offer some predictions.
Manchester City vs Southampton (Tuesday October 29th, 19:45 UK time)
Reigning champions Manchester City take on Southampton in the last 16 and you can expect them to take this match seriously. Pep Guardiola always does and won this trophy twice during his first three years in England.
The Catalan is the most successful coach in this tournament in terms of his results. If wins are said to be worth three points and draws one point, then Guardiola’s ‘points’ per game record in this tournament would be 2.8 per match, the best of any coach.
‘Points’ per game in EFL Cup history (assuming three points for a win, one for a draw)
1. Pep Guardiola: 2.8
2. Michael Laudrup: 2.38
2. Kenny Dalglish: 2.38
4. Manuel Pellegrini: 2.37
5. Iain Dowie: 2.31
5. Avram Grant: 2.31
Considering how terrible Southampton were in their most recent match, their 9-0 drubbing at the hands of Leicester in the Premier League, this has all the makings of a comfortable home win – even with City missing Fernandinho and Rodri for the match through suspension and injury.
Prediction: Home win.
Oxford United vs Sunderland (Tuesday October 29th, 19:45 UK time)
Two League One sides will meet at the Kassam Stadium, as Oxford United host Sunderland. These two teams have already met this season, doing so in the opening weekend of the league season and drawing 1-1 in Sunderland. They also drew 1-1 on each of the occasions when they met last season. They’re close in the league table too, with Oxford United just three points ahead of the Black Cats, while having played a game more.
It promises to be a closely-fought match and could be the kind of tie that goes to extra time. Someone has to win it, though, and Sunderland might be able to grind out the away victory and go far in this competition in the same way that they did so well in the EFL Trophy last season. Plus, their new manager Phil Parkinson has a good record in this competition as he previously managed to lead Bradford to the final in 2012/13 when they were in League Two.
Prediction: Away win.
Liverpool vs Arsenal (Wednesday October 29th, 19:30 UK time)
One of the heavyweight bouts in the last 16 is the match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield. Both sides played significantly weakened XIs in the previous round as they took on and defeated lower league opposition in MK Dons and Nottingham Forest respectively.
Last seven Liverpool vs Arsenal results at Anfield
2013/14 Premier League: Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal
2014/15 Premier League: Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal
2015/16 Premier League: Liverpool 3-3 Arsenal
2016/17 Premier League: Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal
2017/18 Premier League: Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal
2018/19 Premier League: Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal
2019/20 Premier League: Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal
They’re both expected to play stronger line-ups this time around, but both will still rest several starters and this will be a good test for their lesser used players. Liverpool will rightly feel that they have stronger squad depth and they’ll also look to draw on home advantage, having won five of their past seven at home to the Gunners, often by big scorelines.
Prediction: Home win.
Chelsea vs Manchester United (Wednesday October 29th, 20:05 UK time)
The other blockbuster tie of the round is Chelsea vs Manchester United on Wednesday night. Things are starting to click for Frank Lampard’s side as they’ve now won seven in a row, while seven is also the number of goals they put past poor Grimsby Town in the previous round of this competition, in a 7-1 win.
Manchester United, on the other hand, have had a tough time recently and really struggled to progress past Rochdale in the previous round, needing penalties to defeat their opponents at Old Trafford. Recent form and home advantage suggests this one is only going one way.
Prediction: Home win.
Goals: they are the only currency that really matt...