The Carabao Cup enters its quarter-final stage this week, and with Manchester City looking like they are uncatchable in the Premier League several of the other big sides may just be taking this tournament a little bit more seriously than in previous years, as they look to end the season with some type of silverware to their name.
Arsenal v West Ham
Arsenal’s form at The Emirates has been superb with Arsene Wenger’s side having only failed to win one of their home games in all-competitions this season.
David Moyes, to the surprise of everybody apart from maybe Phil Neville, has started to turn things around for West Ham. The Hammers are in excellent form having picked up seven points from their last three Premier League fixtures, which is no mean feat when you consider that two of their opponents were Chelsea and Arsenal.
West Ham will aim to frustrate the home side, keep things tight and try and hit on the counter, although keeping Arsenal’s multi-talented forward line in check will be easier said then done.
With Mesut Ozil in top form I see The Gunners having too much for Moyes’ men here, but it will be tight.
Arsenal and under 2.5 goals 10/3
Leicester v Man City
Despite losing their last league encounter to Crystal Palace, Claude Puel’s team have been in excellent form since the French coaches arrival at the King Power.
Man City are obviously flying, and in my humble opinion are playing a level of football that has never been seen in the Premier League before.
These teams met recently in the league and City ran out 2-0 winners, although the pace of Vardy, Mahrez and Okazaki caused Gaurdiola’s men plenty of problems at times.
I reckon City will try and rest a few of their star players ahead of a hectic Christmas and New Year schedule, so again I think this one might well be a lot closer than most people expect.
Both teams to score and over 2.5 goals 21/20
Chelsea v Bournemouth
As I said in the intro Chelsea may well be one of the clubs for which this competition now has added meaning, due to Man City’s relentless charge at the top of the Premier League table.
The Blues have got over their recent shock defeat to London rivals West Ham by beating Huddersfield and Southampton.
Bournemouth are finding life difficult this season, and were spanked 4-0 by Liverpool last time Sunday, so they will hardly go into this game full of confidence.
I can’t see anything but a Chelsea win here, although Conte’s men don’t keep many clean sheets so a home win with both teams to score looks to be the value bet for me.
Chelsea and both teams to score 15/8
Bristol City v Man United
Bristol City are flying high in the Championship having won eight of their last ten games, and they have been winning plenty of admirers with their attacking brand of football.
The home side beat Premier League team Crystal Palace 4-1 in the last round so they will fancy their chances of causing an upset.
Talk to most Man United fans or listen to the majority of pundits and you’d think The Reds are struggling away in mid table, but the reality is they are actually having their best start to a season in half a century, but the form of Man City is making everybody look poor at the moment.
Jose Mourinho is a big fan of this competition and has won it on four occasions, his plan, like it or not, will be to contain the home side and get out of Ashton Gate with a 1-0 or 2-0.
United to win to nil 7/5