Shocks In The Third Round: Carabao Cup Preview

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Oxford United v Manchester City

The holders travel to the Kassam Stadium in their first test of the competition this season, there is extreme depth in this Manchester City team which was proved last season by winning the competition with a rotated team. It would be expected that Pep will go with youth in this game and it will be a baptism of fire at a sold-out Kassam Stadium with the home side looking to cause a massive upset. Oxford have started the season poorly, sitting in the relegation zone in League One, so a cup run could be a nice distraction for the fans.

But with the depth in the Manchester City side that has scored the most goals in the Premier League and that has conceded the second least in the division it is incredibly difficult to look past City here. However, if City start with Claudio Bravo there is potential for them to be put under pressure by the hosts. Manchester City are the only side in the current top 5 not to be playing another top 5 side, with Liverpool (1st) meeting Chelsea (3rd) and Tottenham (5th) hosting Watford (4th).

Manchester City to win with over 3.5 goals scored: 5/6 Bet365.

Wycombe Wanderers v Norwich City

Wycombe Wanderers picked up an impressive point away at Fratton Park against high flyers Portsmouth, a side who under Kenny Jackett had looked untouchable at home. Norwich go into this game in good form finding wins in three of their last four games before the trip to Queens Park Rangers. They also pulled off a shock in the last round when they quite comfortably knock out Premier League Cardiff City at the Cardiff City Stadium, the away side will travel here hoping to continue their form at Adams Park. With Wycombe sat in the bottom half of League One and having come through the last round on penalties, they will frustrate but I expect Norwich to have enough.

Both teams to score and Norwich to win: 10/3 Bet365.

Burton Albion v Burnley

Burnley travel to the Pirelli Stadium to face Burton Albion. Albion have pulled off a couple of shocks in League One so far, even though they were relegated from the Championship last season. They have beaten Sunderland and Doncaster Rovers in the early games of this season, teams who should be up in the promotion race this season. Burnley need a win in this game, they have played a lot of football already this season with their travels around Europe in and they may be paying for overachieving last season. Sean Dyche’s team are stuck in a catch twenty-two situation in this match as they will want to go through but they will also be very wary of how much football a team of their depth can play during a single season.

Burnley to win in 90 mins: 19/20 Bet365.

Arsenal v Brentford

Off to the Emirates for the next tie, where high flying Brentford are the visitors. The home side come into this game finally finding their feet under manager Unai Emery, after losing the first two games of the season to Manchester City and Chelsea they have bounced back with four wins on the spin. Brentford are also in great form with three wins and a draw from their last four games before defeat at Derby. In Neil Maupay they have a striker who has eight goals already this season as well as Ollie Watkins who has four goals and two assists already this season. Arsenal are however yet to keep a clean sheet this season and with Brentford free-scoring I think Arsenal will be in for a scare in this game.

Arsenal to win and both teams to score: 13/8 Bet365.

West Brom v Crystal Palace

This has the potential to be quite the match at The Hawthorns between a West Brom side who have scored 16 goals in 5 home league games and a Crystal Palace who are yet to score at home in the league at but have been finding the back of the net on the road. Former Crystal Palace man Dwight Gayle will be looking, if he starts, to give his former team nightmares and with Jay Rodriguez, the Baggies have strikers with 11 goals in the league this season already. However, getting back into the Premier League will be the priority so they could bring in the likes of Oliver Burke and Jonathan Leko for the clash with the Eagles. Leko scored in the second-round tie and he could be key if West Brom are going to keep up their impressive form. But in Crystal Palace, they will face a much stronger test than what they saw against Mansfield Town.

West Brom to be ahead at halftime and Palace to win: 28/1 Bet365.

Preston North End v Middlesbrough

Deepdale hosts a tie between two teams with differing form in the Championship with Middlesbrough battling at the top and Preston North End a team with very poor form currently sat second bottom of the league. However, this being said Preston proved that league position means nothing when it comes to cup competition when they knocked top of the table Leeds United in the second round. With the two cup wins only being backed up by a solitary league win which came on the opening day, everything in this game seems to be going against Preston in this one. Especially with them not being able to keep the ball out of the back of their net and with Middlesbrough only conceding three goals in the league this season.

Middlesbrough to win to nil: 10/3 Bet365.

Bournemouth v Blackburn Rovers

Bournemouth have made a very good start to the Premier League season but come into this game on the back of a heavy defeat to Burnley at Turf Moor. They came through the last round with a very comfortable 3-0 over MK Dons. Bournemouth have looked very impressive going forward this season scoring 10 goals already this season. However, they have looked slightly shaky at the back conceding 11. With only one defeat in the league this season Blackburn Rovers have made a good start to the Championship, but they have drawn 5 of their first 9 in the league and without a late penalty miss for Stoke City, this would have been 6. I think there should be goals in this game with both sides playing quite open football.

Game to go to penalties: 3/1 Bet365.

Liverpool v Chelsea

The big clash of the third round at Anfield where two sides in the Premier League with unbeaten records go head to head. Liverpool maintained their 100% start with a win over Southampton but Chelsea lost theirs after only being able to manage a draw at West Ham United. Both sides will be looking to win the game but will more than likely rest players especially with the two sides meeting at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League later in the week. The Carabao Cup may not be at the top of the priority list for Sarri and Klopp but for both managers it would be the first trophies in charge of their clubs. I think this game will be tight with Liverpool’s impressive home record, but this will also be an opportunity for Sarri to win a trophy in his debut season, this tie really does have the potential to go all the way.

Game to be decided after Penalties: 12/5 Bet365.

Millwall v Fulham

A London derby at the Den between Millwall and Fulham. Millwall were much improved in their game against West Brom last time out but with only one league win and a narrow cup win against Plymouth Argyle, the results have not been going their way, with the side finding themselves in the relegation zone. Fulham were much improved in the second half against Watford after having been played off the park in the first. With the number of signings that Fulham have made they have depth in their squad to go a nice little cup run. But Millwall do love a cup shock, especially at the Den.

Millwall to be ahead at halftime but Fulham to win: 25/1 Bet365.

West Ham United v Macclesfield Town

West Ham claimed their first league win under Manuel Pellegrini against Everton and the only other win came in this competition against AFC Wimbledon. They go up against the lowest ranked side in the competition, Macclesfield Town, at the London Stadium. Macclesfield came through their second-round tie after a penalty shootout against Walsall, this was a game in which Macclesfield were minutes away for going out of the competition but a 91st-minute goal took them to penalties. Even with West Ham’s slow start to the season, it is incredibly difficult to look past a home win in this one.

West Ham to win with over 3.5 goals scored: 6/5 Bet365.

Nottingham Forest v Stoke City

Nottingham Forest pulled off the shock of the round last time out when they knocked out Newcastle United with four goals being scored, three of which were in added time. Stoke City have not made the best start to the season in the Championship after Premier League relegation last season. In the last round Saido Berahino scored his first goal in two and half years against Huddersfield Town, and just like London buses, he scored again against Blackburn Rovers in the 3-2 defeat. This game could be ideal for both teams to get some form going in the league with both sides looking to move towards the automatic promotion places. This is something that Nottingham Forest are a lot closer to than the away side.

Saido Berahino to score at any time: 6/1 William Hill.

Manchester United v Derby County

Jose Mourinho’s men have turned their form around since the 3-0 defeat at home to Tottenham Hotspur, Derby on the other have been hot and cold this season, in the last round they ripped Hull City apart in a 4-0 win. The Rams will find this test much harder as you would expect, but they do have players that can cause Manchester United problems. Tom Lawrence and Mason Mount have already impressed this season under Frank Lampard. These two sides met in the Third Round of the FA Cup, Derby County put up a real fight before Manchester United scored two late goals winning the game 2-0. With the form of both sides going into this game it is very difficult to see anything other than a home side win.

Manchester United to win to nil: 8/11 Bet365.

Everton v Southampton

The second all Premier League tie of the round takes place at Goodison Park. Marco Silva’s team have somewhat flattered to deceive this season, they were unbeaten until the clash with West Ham United. Since Romelu Lukaku moved to Manchester United Everton have really struggled to find his replacement and are still playing with the likes of Cenk Tosun and Omar Niasse as strikers. However, the Carabao Cup will be an opportunity for the likes of Calvert-Lewin to shine. These two sides have already met this season in Marco Silva’s first home game in charge, The Toffees came out 2-1 winners. Southampton have scored in five of their last six games and have quite a few options in terms of strikers especially in comparison to Silva’s men.

Both teams to score: 3/4 Bet365.

Blackpool v QPR

Queens Park Rangers made their way through the second round for the first time in recent years, they have had cup troubles against lower league opposition, but they came through comfortably against Bristol Rovers. Blackpool have been very impressive in League One so far and have three wins and two draws in their last five games; including that 2-1 cup triumph against fellow league one promotion chasers Doncaster Rovers. If Queens Park Rangers win it would be somewhat uncharted territory of the fourth round of the Carabao Cup. But with two in-form teams this could be a good cup tie.

Blackpool to win: 19/10 Bet365.

Tottenham Hotspur v Watford

This tie has been heavily discussed with the game taking place at Stadium:MK due to the lack of availability of both Wembley Stadium and Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium. The league meeting between these two sides brought Watford’s first Premier League win against Tottenham Hotspur, since this game Spurs went on to lose their next two fixtures against Liverpool and Inter Milan.

This could be the ideal opportunity to turn their form around and get themselves back to winning ways. Both sides are likely to rotate their teams ahead of the tie with fringe players coming in. Erik Lamela impressed off the bench against Liverpool and could play a key role in this game. Watford’s second-round win against Reading saw impressive performances from Issac Success and Dominqous Quina with the pair both grabbing goals in the tie. The weakness picked out of Watford’s performances this season is the teams starting slow in matches.

Tottenham to score first: 1/5 Bet365.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Leicester City

The final Premier League tie of the round, between newly promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers and 2015/16 Premier League champions Leicester City. These two sides have again already met in the Premier League this season with Leicester coming out 2-0 winners at the King Power Stadium. However, this game could have very easily gone in the favour of the visitors with Wolves missing multiple chances being denied by the woodwork on a couple of occasions. This could have been a much higher scoring affair with both sides offering real attacking prowess. Leicester City have scored in every game this season, whereas Wolves have realatively sound defensively this season and picked up a brilliant result at Old Trafford last time out.

Both teams to score: 4/5 Bet365.

Predictions:

Blackpool v Queens Park Rangers 1-0
Bournemouth v Blackburn Rovers 2-1
Burton Albion v Burnley 0-2
Millwall v Fulham 1-2
Oxford United v Manchester City 0-4
Preston North End v Middlesbrough 1-2
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Leicester City 1-1*
Wycombe Wanderers v Norwich City 0-1
Manchester United v Derby County 3-1
West Bromwich Albion v Crystal Palace 2-1
Arsenal v Brentford 3-0
Liverpool v Chelsea *1-1
Nottingham Forest v Stoke City 1-2
West Ham United v Macclesfield Town 2-0
Tottenham Hotspur v Watford 3-1
Everton v Southampton 2-1

*Denotes penalty shootout winner.