Tom Phillips previews the upcoming League Cup action
It is a quick turnaround for City as they return to League Cup action this Tuesday night as fellow Championship outfit AFC Bournemouth visit the Cardiff City Stadium. As well as the Bluebirds’ game, there are some intriguing ties to look forward to in the 3rd round.
Holders Manchester City begin their defence with a home draw game against Sheffield Wednesday. The Owls will be looking to upset the odds at the Etihad having already beaten Premier League opposition away from home in the second round. Wednesday managed a 1-0 victory against Burnley at Turf Moor.
2013 victors Swansea City have a tricky home tie against Everton while 2012 winners Liverpool will be strong favourites as Middlesbrough travel to Anfield.
TOP FLIGHT BATTLES
As well as the tie at the Liberty Stadium there are four further all Premier League ties. With Manchester United, West Ham, Leicester City, Burnley, Aston Villa and QPR already out of the competition, plus the top-flight fixtures of the third round there will be at least eleven teams from the Premier League missing from the fourth round draw on Wednesday night.
Last years runners-up Sunderland have a home draw against Stoke City on Tuesday night while Arsenal and Southampton meet at the Emirates. Newcastle United have to venture south to face Neil Warnock’s Crystal Palace who will enter the game with great confidence after an away win at Everton on the weekend. The final all Premier League clash is at the Hawthorns where West Bromwich Albion welcomes Hull City.
With a great number of bigger clubs missing from the last 16 there is room for some of the so-called minnows to go on a surge. As Bradford City (and of course) Cardiff City have proved in recent years there is no reason why clubs from the lower divisions cannot make the final. There is guaranteed to be two teams from League One in the last 16 this season. One of those teams will be made up of either the MK Dons or Bradford. The Dons famously hit Manchester United for four in the last round while the Bantams kept their cup tradition going, beating local rivals and Championship club Leeds United to make the final 32. The second League One team still in the mix will be either Sheffield United or Leyton Orient, who face off at Brisbane Road.
There are also two League Two sides remaining in the competition and both with home fixtures. With home support behind them there could be potential upsets as Shrewsbury Town face Norwich City, and Burton Albion will be looking for a third consecutive cup shock as they host Sami Hyypia’s Brighton & Hove Albion, having already knocked out Queens Park Rangers and Wigan Athletic from this season’s League Cup.
THE BEST OF THE REST
There are two more of the elite in the draw and both with home ties. Tottenham Hotspur will be looking to avoid a banana skin against Stuart Pearce’s in-form Nottingham Forest and Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea face Bolton Wanderers at Stamford Bridge. An all Championship encounter of Derby County and Reading, and a game, which sees Fulham play Doncaster Rovers, complete the draw.
Tuesday 23rd September
Arsenal v Southampton
Cardiff v Bournemouth
Derby v Reading
Fulham v Doncaster
Leyton Orient v Sheffield United
Liverpool v Middlesbrough
MK Dons v Bradford City
Shrewsbury Town v Norwich City
Sunderland v Stoke City
Swansea v Everton
Wednesday 24th September
West Brom v Hull City
Burton v Brighton
Chelsea v Bolton
Man City v Sheffield Wednesday
Crystal Palace v Newcastle
Tottenham v Nottingham Forest