Eight third round ties take place
Tonight’s action includes Chelsea’s trip to League One side Walsall whilst Liverpool host League Two side Carlisle. Then there is the small matter of the North London derby between Tottenham and Arsenal.
Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal
To see a North London derby this early on in a cup competition is a real treat and don’t be fooled into thinking either manager will play a second-string side. If this match was a friendly, both coaches would almost certainly field their strongest possible starting XI.
Victory tonight would be massive for either club, but perhaps the onus is on Gunner’s boss Arsene Wenger, to stop a third successive defeat in all competitions.
However their opponents, who have lost just one match in their first seven, will be a tough obstacle to negotiate.
The last match between these two teams saw Spurs run out 2-1 winners as Harry Kane’s second-half double cancelled out Mesut Ozil’s opener inside 11 minutes.
Walsall v Chelsea
These two sides may be separated by a couple of divisions but the Saddlers, who currently sit second in League One, will fully believe they can cause a major upset.
Walsall manager Dean Smith has seen his side make a bright start to the season, knocking out Nottingham Forest and Brighton & Hove Albion of the Championship in the earlier stages of the competition.
Chelsea will travel to the Bescot Stadium without striker Diego Costa, who is serving a three-match suspension after being found guilty of violent conduct.
The Blues have made a poor start to their Premier League campaign – their 2-0 victory over Arsenal last weekend was only their second this season.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho will obviously be intent on winning this game and progressing to the next round of the competition.
Perhaps more importantly he will be looking to build some momentum to take into their domestic campaign.
Liverpool v Carlisle United
Carlisle travel to Anfield as the only League Two side remaining in the League Cup and will be hoping to cause arguably the biggest upset at this stage of the competition.
The Cumbrians have lost just one of their last five league matches going into tonight’s game and be will be full of confidence.
Meanwhile, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has been under increasing pressure after the Reds disappointing start to the season.
They have won just two matches in all competitions and a number of fans have called for the Northern Irishman to be sacked.
The last time these two sides met in the League Cup, Liverpool claimed an emphatic 5-1 victory at Anfield in the 1972-73 season.
MK Dons v Southampton
The Saints take on MK Dons in the League Cup for the first time – the last time these sides met was five years ago in League One.
Whilst Mk Dons manager Karl Robinson will be hoping to knock the Premier League side out and progress, his main focus will probably be to avoid relegation from the Championship.
Southampton manager Ronald Koeman will see tonight’s match as a chance to kick-start the Saints campaign.
They have won just one of their first six Premier League matches and have already been eliminated from the Europa League at the hands of Danish Superliga side Fc Midtjylland.
Newcastle United v Sheffield Wednesday
The Owls travel to St. James Park with a real belief they can beat a Newcastle side, who have failed to win any of their first six Premier League games.
Sheffield Wednesday manager Carlos Carvalhal will look to take the Yorkshire side beyond the third round for the first time in thirteen seasons.
Defeat for Newcastle would put increasing pressure on Magpies manager Steve McClaren, who knows the next few results will determine his fate at the club.
These two sides last met on Boxing Day, during the 2009-10 Championship campaign when both teams shared the points after a 2-2 draw at the Hillsborough Stadium.
Crystal Palace v Charlton Athletic
Charlton have lost against Crystal Palace on the last three occasions in the League Cup but they will be hoping to break that streak tonight at Selhurt Park.
Palace manager Alan Pardew is likely to make a raft of changes, following his side’s 1-0 defeat to Tottenham on Sunday.
The Eagles have made an encouraging start in the Premier League, winning three out of their first six, including a memorable 2-1 victory against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Meanwhile, Charlton manager Guy Luzon will be hoping his side bounce back after a comprehensive 3-0 defeat away to Blackburn in the Championship last weekend.
Manchester United v Ipswich Town
The Red Devils will probably line-up rather differently to the team which beat Southampton 3-2 on Sunday, with Phil Jones, Andreas Pereira and James Wilson amongst the players in contention.
Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy is also likely to rotate his squad with the push for promotion to the Premier League probably at the top of his agenda.
The Tractor Boys currently occupy 5th place in the Championship, winning four of their first eight games in English football’s second tier.
Meanwhile United are 2nd in the Premier League, trailing Manchester City by two points, after losing just one league game so far this season.
Norwich City v West Bromwich Albion
The Baggies travel to Carrow Road tonight in one of only two all Premier League clashes.
Both managers are likely to make full use of their squads; Jonas Olsson, James Chester, Craig Gardner, Rickie Lambert and Callum McManaman could all start tonight for the visitors.
Norwich defender Martin Olsson could be given an opportunity after returning to full fitness following surgery whilst on-loan striker Dieumerci Mbokani could make the starting XI for the first time.
The Canaries have emerged victorious during the last two matches against West Brom in the League Cup, in 1974 and 1979.
Written by Jack Wynne – @JackRobertWynne
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