The final Premier League clubs enter the EFL Cup, but the question regarding the top sides is how many changes will be made to the teams that played in the league over the weekend. For those with big squads, this is a chance for the fringe players to be given a chance to prove to their managers that they deserve a place in the starting XI for this weekend’s matches.
For the lower league sides paired with a top-flight side, this could be a chance to make a name for themselves and cause an upset. Charlie Mullan picks out some of the bets available from the midweek cup-ties which will not require extra-time and go straight to penalties if the ties finish level after 90 minutes.
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BTTS Luton v Leicester, Portsmouth v Southampton, Man Utd v Rochdale
Brendan Rodgers might be tempted to rest some of his Leicester (5/9) players who dug themselves out of a hole at home to Tottenham on Saturday when they trailed 1-0 at the break. But two second half goals from Ricardo Pereira and James Maddison secured a come-from-behind win. Luton (17/4) lost 3-0 at home to Hull which was the first time this season in the Championship that BTTS did not land in games involving the Hatters.
At Kenilworth Road, the Championship side will be well supported against a Leicester side that currently sits third in the Premier League. Will a run in the EFL Cup be a hindrance for the Foxes as they dare to dream after winning the Premier League title in 2016? BTTS has landed in five of Leicester’s last six matches. Luton are 31/4 to win the tie with goals for them and the Foxes who are 19/10 to win with goals for both sides. A score draw after 90 minutes is trading at 4/1 with SportPesa.
When Portsmouth (29/10) and Southampton (10/11) meet in their south coast derby there are usually plenty of goals scored. The last six meetings have seen 22 goals with 13 going the way of Pompey. Both Portsmouth and Southampton have scored in those six meetings and there could be goals for both teams in this one. Survival in the Premier League is the number one goal for the Saints who are currently 13th with seven points to show from their first six league matches.
They were beaten 3-1 by Bournemouth on Friday night and Southampton manager, Ralph Hassenhuttl, could ring the changes to find improvements ahead of their trip to Tottenham in the league this weekend. Portsmouth’s last two games at Fratton Park have seen BTTS land and they would love to send the Saints out of the cup. Pompey are 23/4 to win with BTTS occurring against Southampton who are 49/20 to claim victory with goals for each team. A score draw is available at 33/10.
Brian Barry-Murphy has managed Rochdale (23/1) for only a matter of months since replacing Keith Hill but a trip to Old Trafford is a chance for him to add a major cup shock to his CV. The Spotland boss has not had things go well in recent weeks with no wins in his last three league games, but this, as they say, is a free hit.
Few are expecting Rochdale to beat Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, but the way Manchester United (2/25) have been defending lately, many would expect the League One side to find the net at Old Trafford. United were well beaten 2-0 at West Ham on Sunday after narrowly beating Astana 1-0 in their Europa League opener last Thursday. Fringe players could get their change by Solskjaer who is desperate to find his best XI ahead of Monday night’s Premier League clash with Arsenal.
Over 2.5 Preston v Man City, Chelsea v Grimsby, Arsenal v Nottingham Forest
If Saturday is anything to go by, over 2.5 goals could land before we get to the 15th minute if City are in the mood they were in on Saturday when they destroyed Watford 8-0. They were 3-0 up after 12 minutes. This is the same team that beat Burton 9-0 in the semi-final, first leg of this competition last season when they went on to lift the trophy.
The holders did not even have to bring Raheem Sterling off the bench against Watford and he could be involved against the Championship side this time. Preston have scored in both halves in all four of their league games at Deep Dale this season and they have nothing to lose by going for it against City. If they manage to score in both halves again, then there is a very good chance this tie could have a minimum of three goals scored.
It’s been almost 20 years since Grimsby pulled off their greatest cup shock when they won 2-1 at Liverpool in the same competition when Phil Jevons scored a stunning extra-time winner. Since then, the Mariners have had relatively little to cheer about, although their early season form has provided some cheer. Saturday’s 1-0 home with Morecambe moved them to ninth in League Two and Michael Jolley’s side will look to cause another upset against a Chelsea side that has lost their last two matches.
Frank Lampard will expect a response from his players after they lost 2-1 at home to Liverpool and his team selection could include a number of changes. Town will certainly want to take another big Premier League scalp, this time on home soil. Grimsby are 52/1 to win the match in 90 minutes with a minimum of three goals scored in the tie while the Premier League side are 4/13 to win the game in normal time with three or more total scored.
Arsenal’s 3-2 come-from-behind win to beat Aston Villa sums up the Gunners this season. They have been erratic and unpredictable with their performance and results, but one thing that has been a constant has been goals. Their last six games have produced a total 23 goals and all of those have seen a minimum of three total goals scored.
These two sides have met in cup competitions twice in the last three seasons with 10 total goals scored. Forest won 4-2 at the City Ground in the FA Cup in January 2018 after the Gunners beat them 4-0 in the EFL Cup at the same ground in September 2016. Arsenal are 20/27 to win with over 2.5 total goals scored while Forest are 35/4 to advance with at least three goals scored in the tie.