The last 16 of the EFL Cup continues on Wednesday night with three all-Premier League ties. It’s a cracking night of football in store as Manchester United and City square up at Old Trafford, while another derby takes place in London when West Ham host Chelsea. The other tie features beleaguered Sunderland on the South coast at Southampton, and we’ve got tips for all three matches on the night.
After impressive starts to their respective careers as City and United, Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho have seen the wheels fall off slightly in recent weeks. For United it was a humiliation at the hands of Chelsea in a 4-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, which left Mourinho absolutely fuming. Meanwhile, City’s impeccable start to the season has faded and they are now winless in five games across all competitions. It’s a far cry from the form they were in when they won 2-1 at Old Trafford in September, and United will be gunning for revenge on Wednesday night.
West Ham have had various problems with the move to the London stadium, and alcohol bans and an increased police presence have been promised on Wednesday night. The match against Chelsea will be the true acid test of the new stadium, where the Hammers haven’t yet faced a big rival. Back-to-back 1-0 wins have restored confidence for Slaven Bilic’s side, but Chelsea couldn’t be in better form after three straight wins and three clean sheets.
Finally, Sunderland have the look of the doomed about them this season, and they remain winless this season under David Moyes – except for in this competition, where they’ve managed victories against Shrewsbury and QPR.
Manchester United v Manchester City
Old Trafford is the venue for the tie of the night, and 188Bet are offering the best odds about both teams to score at 16/191.84-1190.84-1.190.84 .
Jose Mourinho will demand a performance from his team after an insipid display on Sunday, and he is unlikely to fill the side with fringe players as he was able to in the 3-1 win against Northampton in the previous round. The 2-1 reverse earlier in the season will have hurt the fans and players alike, and a second derby defeat in two months does not bear thinking about.
Pep Guardiola is also facing a test of his management skills at City, and he’ll be keen to stop the rot which has seen them fail to win in five games. Defeats away at Spurs and Barcelona are perhaps explainable, but they’ve also been held to draws by Celtic, Southampton and Everton. That form has enabled Arsenal and Liverpool to draw level at the top of the Premier League, and Guardiola will want to turn things around as soon as possible.
Both sides have European commitments in the coming weeks, and while this competition may not be a priority, a derby against fierce local rivals is always a priority. Without the pressure of playing for a ‘bigger prize’, this ought to be an open game with plenty of action, and both teams can get on the scoresheet.
West Ham v Chelsea
Chelsea have been in rude form since Antonio Conte adopted a new formation, but there might be a bit of value in backing West Ham on the double chance at 11/102.10+1101.101.10-0.91 with BoyleSports and Ladbrokes.
The Hammers have also changed to a similar formation in recent weeks, and it has paid dividends with two wins and two clean sheets against Crystal Palace and Sunderland. They may have been beaten by a last-gasp Diego Costa goal when they visited Stamford Bridge in the Premier League earlier this season, but last year they drew 2-2 away at Chelsea, and beat the Blues 2-1 in the home fixture. The Hammers are the type of side that raises their game for the big matches, and the fans should be very vocal for this one under the lights at the new stadium.
Chelsea fought back from 2-0 down away at Leicester in the last round of this competition, drawing 2-2 before adding two more in extra-time through Cesc Fabregas. The Spanish international has been out of favour in the Premier League, but he was one of several fringe players to start that game, including the likes of Batshuayi and Loftus-Cheek. This competition may not be a priority for Chelsea, but they’re just a point off the top of the Premier League and have no European distractions.
West Ham are slowly finding their form at their new home, and one thing that is guaranteed is that they will be fully fired up for this game. At odds-against, they’re good value to at least take Chelsea to extra-time.
Southampton v Sunderland
Finally, Southampton are a decent-looking banker at 4/91.44-2250.44-2.250.44 with Bet365, Betfred and Ladbrokes when Sunderland travel to the South coast.
David Moyes’ men might consider themselves unlucky not to have gained a point from their weekend match at West Ham, where they lost to a dubious goal deep into injury time. However, the truth is that they were second best for long periods, and if the Hammers had their shooting boots on it could have been over much sooner. Rock-bottom of the Premier League with just 2 points from 9 games is relegation form, so will Moyes choose to rest players here and prioritise the league campaign?
The same question could be asked of the Saints, although circumstances are markedly different. Claude Puel has made a good start to his Southampton career, and his team are 8th in the league, in the midst of a Europa League run, and have been beaten just once in the last nine games. With plenty of fixtures coming up, he may choose to rest players here, but this is also a realistic chance of silverware. It was a relatively strong side which saw off Crystal Palace in the last round, and they are fancied to turn over a weak Sunderland side on home ground.
Man United v Man City – Both Teams to Score
Wednesday 26th October, 19:45 GMT
West Ham or Draw
Wednesday 26th October, 19:45 GMT
Eric has been a sports journalist for over 20 years and has travelled the world covering top sporting events for a number of publications. He also has a passion for betting and uses his in-depth knowledge of the sports world to pinpoint outstanding odds and value betting opportunities.
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