The League Cup has experienced yet another rebrand. Few trophies have had as many different names as the newly-titled Carabao Cup, and it might have been a bit easier for us all if they scrapped the sponsorship and stuck with EFL Cup.
Either way, it’ll be treating us to midweek football in the early winter months and that is something we will all be grateful for after watching a distinctly un-Super Sunday. Here are FIVE picks we think could have a bit of fun in England’s secondary domestic cup…
Mauricio Pochettino’s time at Tottenham has deservedly received widespread praise. His development of youngsters has seen the Lilywhites punch well above their financial weight in the Premier League. The now-clichéd criticism of Spurs, though, is that there are no medals to show for this.
Entering the EFL Cup in the Third Round, Spurs have a potentially short, relaxed path to the semi-final stage with a bit of luck. How their Champions League campaign goes will obviously determine how seriously they take the Carabao Cup, but this could be an open goal for Pochettino to put the medal criticism to bed.
The Premier League’s runners-up at 10/1 to win this trophy looks a cracking price, too.
Everton are in a period of limbo. Spending heavily to close the gap to the top six shows ambition, yet they are still far from likely to break into that elite group. Ronald Koeman’s side would surely see another seventh-place finish as a satisfactory season, but it would need to be supplemented by a run in one of both of the domestic cups to really be worth it.
The Carabao Cup provides a perfect opportunity for this, and a nice look for the Toffees to show off their newly-recruited squad depth. Their 20/1 price to lift the trophy fittingly puts them as seventh favourites.
The Gunners win trophies these days, which must be an alien concept to some football fans after their drought. The trophies have been FA Cups to date, but Arsene Wenger will surely eye the Carabao Cup this season as the Europa League is placed firmly on the back burner and many of their talented youngsters come of age.
Arsenal have some squad depth – assuming their XI stays fit – and could name a fully rotated team in the League Cup without compromising too much.
Their each way price of 7/2 is a good one given their lack of Champions League group stage distraction, but the 8/1 on Wenger to lift yet another trophy is one of the best value bets from this market.
Craig Shakespeare’s Leicester City have made big moves in the summer transfer market, and look significantly stronger even if they do lose Riyad Mahrez in the closing weeks of the window.
Their brief dangling above the relegation zone last season was quickly forgotten about under Shakespeare, meaning another comfortable mid-table finish will be expected in 2017/18.
Sides in that position should see the domestic cups as big opportunities to make history. The Foxes have already made their fair share of history this decade, but Shakespeare must see the Carabao Cup as an opportunity to make his own mark on the club.
We all know Leicester have the ability to upset the odds, and their 40/1 price is one of the most tempting longshots at the start of this season.
Eddie Howe is a man who splits opinion around the footballing world. There is, however, no doubting that his Bournemouth side are one of the hardest to predict.
Capable of calamitous defending and breath-taking comebacks, few clubs are as equipped to upset the big sides as well as the Cherries. As a 25/1 shot to make the final, Howe’s team are a perfect wildcard with their attacking approach and gifted squad.