By Aaron Hindhaugh •
Published: 26 Sep 2023 • 16:30
Credit: "Chelsea FC Stadium Viewing" by markyharky is licensed under CC BY 2.0
The Carabao Cup returns this midweek and the Premier League teams in Europe enter at the third round which has set up some very tasty fixtures.
Manchester United have struggled for consistency this season in the Premier League having won just three games and only one of them has been away from home but with Sofyan Amrabat and Raphael Varane set to make their full returns this could be the perfect game for them midweek.
The Evening Standard Sport have since confirmed that Amrabat – a deadline-day signing – will indeed make his first start for Man United at Selhurst Park.
For Crystal Palace, Roy Hodgson won’t have filled many fans with confidence as he’s spoken about how their bench will likely be made up of academy players and hopes they can ‘give Man United a good game’ so I believe there’s only one outcome tonight.
All eyes and focus must be on the Premier League this season for Everton with it looking to be a long and very close one down the bottom of the Premier League table, so their win against Brentford should hand them a major boost.
It would make sense for Sean Dyche to ring the changes away to Aston Villa and potentially relinquish a spot in the fourth round for the good of their season, whereas Villa could well use their squad depth to target this competition, especially with an early home tie.
The Carabao Cup has never been at the top of Jurgen Klopp’s priority list but having gone last season without a piece of silverware, he’d be wise to target this one, especially with a confident Leicester City side making their way to Anfield on Wednesday night.
Leicester are currently sitting in the automatic promotion spots of the Championship but if they rock up to Anfield and attempt to play the style of football that has served them well thus far, I can see a likely rotated Liverpool side running riot and advancing into the fourth round.
Despite Klopp likely looking to rotate, the likes of Diogo Jota, Ryan Gravenberch, and Cody Gakpo could all be handed starts which should ensure the Reds have too much for the Foxes.
For the second time in the space of just four days, I am predicting Chelsea to taste defeat at Stamford Bridge, although this one would be far less of a shock given how fantastic Brighton has been under Roberto De Zerbi.
Given how much money Chelsea have paid Brighton for players and managers in recent times they should be streets ahead, but even if De Zerbi decides to rotate, the likes of Karou Mitoma and Ansu Fati only plated a half of football on Sunday, so should be fresh enough to torment the Chelsea defence.
Mauricio Pochettino simply needs to get the club’s league form back on track because, without a European finish, it will be seen as a huge failure, so unfortunately for Chelsea fans, the Carabao Cup will have to take a backseat for this season.
This could be the most exciting and entertaining tie of the entire round as I’m predicting there to be penalties at the Brentford Community Stadium and the Bees should come out on top with home advantage playing a big part.
Given how bruising the North London derby draw will have felt for Arsenal and Mikel Arteta, it’s likely he will rest his key players as they look to keep up their title push, so it’s a perfect competition and time for the Bees to try and get to Wembley, despite having to face the Premier League’s runners up from last season.
The blockbuster tie of the round brings the third round to a close on Wednesday evening as last year’s beaten finalist, Newcastle United, and the ever-impressive Manchester City face off, but it’s expected to be a heavily rotated City side.
Pep Guardiola has already claimed that Kyle Walker and Ruben Dias will not play against the Magpies, while Rodri will also serve the first game of his suspension.
Following his pre-match press conference, Guardiola has confirmed that outcast Kalvin Phillips will be handed a start for the Premier League champions amid Rodri’s suspension, which shows how far down the priority list the Carabao Cup is due to Phillips being largely used as a substitute in ‘garbage time’ thus far.
Newcastle are coming off the back of three consecutive clean sheets and an 8-0 victory against Sheffield United, so Eddie Howe may see this as a chance to keep the momentum up while also handing starts to players such as Sandro Tonali, Alexander Isak, and Tino Livramento.
If Newcastle were to dump Man City out in the third round it would be a huge shock, but that’s exactly what I can see happening with a jam-packed and raucous St James’ Park crowd ready to make it a night of hell for the Premier League champions.
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Qualified and experienced journalist covering all aspects of news and sport. Specialist in both Men's and Women's football with increasing coverage of golf and tennis.
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