The third round of the EFL Cup – yes it’s had another name change ladies and gents – gets underway this Tuesday evening. The tournament always offers some terrific value with upsets a bit of a feature. We may see the traditional giant slaying this week with a few of the Premier League’s big boys facing tricky away ties against lower league opposition.
We’ll take a look at two of these potential upsets as well as two all-Premier League ties, below.
Tuesday 20 September
Leicester 43/20 | Draw 49/20 | Chelsea 12/10
The first tie we’ll take a look at is between the defending Premier League champions and a Chelsea side who are yet to really find their rhythm this term.
The Foxes have enjoyed a spectacular seven days winning their first ever Champions League tie by a 3-0 score line and then capping it off with a 3-0 victory over Burnley this past Sunday. While Claudio Ranieri will be ecstatic with both results, his main source of joy will be the return to form of the mercurial Riyad Mahrez. The Algerian international bagged a brace against Club Brugge and followed that up by claiming the man of the match accolade against Burnley.
Chelsea will be looking to put their 2-1 defeat to title rivals Liverpool behind them. That loss came off the back of a 2-2 draw away to Swansea which saw the ‘Swans come back from two goals down.
Antonio Conte is likely to make wholesale changes for this one, while Claudio 'The Tinkerman' Ranieri will most likely live up to his alias and do a slight bit of tinkering. I suspect Conte will field the likes of a few first team fringe players, including Cesc Fabregas, Asmir Begovic, Pedro, and youngsters Michy Batshuayi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
This should be a rather open game with plenty of goal scoring opportunities. With the previous statement in mind, I recommend backing Both Teams to Score – Yes – at 6/10.
Nottingham Forest 9/2 | Draw 33/10 | Arsenal 5/10
Our next game pits Arsenal old boy, Nicklas Bendtner against his former employers. The self-proclaimed “greatest striker to ever live” will be desperate to show up his old club this coming Tuesday evening. And I would not put it past the Dane getting his name on the goalscorers sheet.
Arsene Wenger is likely to make a whole heap of changes to the side from that managed a 4-1 victory over Hull City this past Saturday. The good news for Gunners fans is that there is a lot more squad depth at the club as opposed to previous years.
Arsene Wenger will be able to field a formidable side, which is likely to feature Colombian number one David Ospina, international defenders, Gabriel Paulista, Kieran Gibbs and Mathieu Debuchy, whilst a starting berth for Rob Holding is also expected. In the midfield, we’re likely to see Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny team up in the center of the park. I also expect to see new signing Perez up top with Oxlade-Chamberlin and one of the youngsters out wide.
This Arsenal team should have way too much quality for their lower league opponents. Get on the Gunners to win at 5/10!
Wednesday 21 September
Swansea City 47/10 | Draw 33/10 | Manchester City 5/10
The Swans' and Citizens go head to head in Wednesday’s all-Premier League clash. The visitors come into this one as strong favourites. And rightly so. They’ve their last two fixtures by 4-0 scorelines and look in red-hot form.
The Swans haven’t fared as well, winning only one of their five opening Premier League fixtures. They did manage a 3-1 victory away at Peterborough during the second round of the EFL Cup, but Manchester City’s second stringers are not even in the same school let alone class as Peterborough's first team.
While Pep Guardiola will make a slew of changes for this one, the game is likely to follow a similar script as the recent Premier League and Champions League ties that the first stringers have played in; a huge victory for the Citizens. Get on the -1 City handicap at 12/10.
Northampton Town 8/1 | Draw 9/2 | Manchester United 3/10
League One’s Northampton Town host Manchester United in our final selected game of the round. The Cobblers have enjoyed a decent, if not spectacular start to their league campaign losing only one of their opening eight fixtures. They have also enjoyed a terrific cup run, beating Championship high-flyers Barnsley 2-1 in the first round, and then seeing off Premier League opposition West Brom Albion in the second round.
Manchester United have been a bit of a hit and miss this term, winning three of their opening five Premier League games while losing the other two. It will be a very different team that takes to the Sixfields pitch this Wednesday compared to the one that went down 2-1 to Watford at Vicarage Road this past Sunday.
I fancy Northampton to cause a bit of an upset here. Get on the Northampton Win/Draw Double Chance at 22/10.
If you take all four of these tips as a quad, a R10 rand stake will net you a healthy return of R165.30. This equates to odds of just over 15/1.
Written by Darry Worthington @Hollywoodbets