Round three of the EFL Cup kicks off on Tuesday night with the heavyweights entering the tournament at this stage. Across two days, the 16 ties sees Premier League champions Leicester City, Arsenal Tottenham, Manchester City and Manchester United take the field. Tottenham aside, all of the above will be visiting lower league side who will be confident of causing an upset.
In Wednesday’s action, 2010 League Cup winners Manchester United will hope that the competition can provide some respite from their poor recent form.
The Red Devils have slumped to three defeats in all competitions, a run extended after Sunday’s shock 3-1 defeat to Watford. They visit a team 48 places below them in the pyramid as they visit Sixfields to play Northampton Town.
The Cobblers made it to round three after beating West Brom 4-3 on penalties after a 2-2 draw in regular time. The teams last faced off in the FA Cup in 2004 with United winning 3-0.
West Ham United have been on a similarly poor run of form recently; they conceded four after being 2-0 up against Watford, then went 4-0 down at West Brom before scoring two goals to make the final score less embarrassing.
The Hammers have conceded 16 goals in their past four games in all competitions and host an Accrington Stanley side motivated to cause even more unrest at the divided London Stadium. The League Two side have won their past two games entering this fixture.
Across the capital city, West Londoners Fulham welcome Bristol City to Craven Cottage with both sides on a run of three games without a win. Fulham have won three of the last five meetings, with Bristol City winning two.
2016 League Cup winners Manchester City travel to Wales to take on Swansea three days before playing them in the Premier League. The League leaders have won their past eight games in all competitions, scoring 25 goals and conceding only four.
The Sky Blues have lost only once in their last ten matches against The Swans, who enter this game without a win in three after last Sunday’s loss against Southampton.
Last season, The Saints beat Crystal Palace 4-1 in the Premier League to secure Europa League qualification. The London side enter this game in good form though; they have gone four games unbeaten and thrashed Stoke 4-1 last Sunday. They are unbeaten against seaside teams this season too – drawing 1-1 with Bournemouth and beating Blackpool 2-0 in the second round of the EFL Cup.
Queen’s Park Rangers host a north-east side for the second time in a week as they welcome Sunderland to Loftus Road. The Hoops will be hoping for better this time around after being battered 6-0 by Newcastle. The visitor’s have not fared much better recently with The Black Cats losing four of their past five games. They have a three game losing streak against The Hoops.
The only side below Sunderland in the Premier League is Stoke City who prop up the table with a solitary point and 14 goals conceded. They have lost four straight, conceding nine in that time, and host Hull City who will be hoping to turn their fortunes around now that Mike Phelan has been appointed manager on a permanent basis.
Rounding off the action in round three, Tottenham host League One side Gillingham. The sides last played in the League Cup in 1982 with Spurs winning 4-2 thanks to goals from Garth Crooks and Steve Archibald.