After another thrilling round of midweek fixtures, we now know the identity of this season’s Carabao Cup quarter-finalists.
Three of the ‘Big Six’ – Liverpool, Manchester United and reigning champions Manchester City – have made it to the final eight and are joined by fellow Premier League clubs Aston Villa, Everton and Leicester City.
Meanwhile, the incredible journeys of League One side Oxford United and Colchester United of League Two continue, giving neutrals hope of a fairytale ending to the competition.
Miss the 2019/20 Carabao Cup quarter-final draw? Five things to know…
- Oxford United vs Manchester City
- Manchester United vs Colchester United
- Aston Villa vs Liverpool
- Everton vs Leicester City
- The quarter-finals will take place the week commencing December 16.
The big-hitters have seemingly been given a generous route to the semi-finals, but is it as simple as that? Will the final four be a predictable quartet? Or are the bookmakers suggesting we could see at least a couple of shocks?
We’ve looked into the draw and the odds below. All odds via Oddschecker and correct as of 11:30, 31/10/19.
The favourites: Manchester City
Perhaps inevitably, Manchester City are the favourites to retain their crown. Most bookmakers have them at 11/10 to win the competition, with some offering evens.
It would be a huge, huge shock if Pep Guardiola’s side failed to beat Oxford, and they have the quality to overcome anybody over two legs in the semi-finals.
City have beaten Preston North End and Southampton on their way to the quarter-finals, and they can probably afford to rest players again when they travel to Oxford.
Liverpool are second favourites having overcome Arsenal on penalties after a thriller at Anfield on Wednesday, but their participation in the quarter-finals is in doubt – if you believe Jurgen Klopp.
“If they don’t find a place for us, an appropriate place, not 3am on Christmas Day, then we don’t play it,” Klopp said, raising concerns about Liverpool’s fixture list amid their participation in the Club World Cup.
Their odds to win the League Cup average at about 4/1, though there is the possibility Klopp will rest his big guns against Aston Villa, which could result in a surprise.
Man Utd and Leicester to capitalise?
Doubts over Liverpool’s chances could give Manchester United and Leicester the chance to capitalise, if they are willing to put their top four hopes on hold in pursuit of silverware.
If United can avoid doing a Tottenham, they should overcome Colchester at Old Trafford. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men are given 9/2 odds to win the competition.
Meanwhile, Leicester’s trip to Everton will be slightly more difficult, but Brendan Rodgers’ confident side have been given decent outsider odds of 8/1 to lift the trophy.
The outsiders: Everton and Aston Villa
Everton’s odds of winning the competition – averaging at 9/1 – are greater than Leicester’s, yet the Toffees are at home for their meeting with the Foxes, which arguably makes them the Carabao Cup’s true dark horses.
Marco Silva has every chance of masterminding a victory over Leicester at Goodison Park, so it might be up to Aston Villa, who host Liverpool, to restore some pride for the Midlands.
As already mentioned, Klopp may decide to rest his star men, so Villa’s odds of going all the way – most bookmakers have them at 25/1 – may end up shortening soon.
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Fairytale on the cards?
With profitable yet difficult clashes against the Manchester clubs, the remaining lower league sides may have reached the end of their journeys – unless a fairytale truly is on the cards.
League Two side Bradford City reached the final in 2013 but were thrashed by Swansea City, which shows how difficult it is for teams outside the top-flight to be successful in this competition.
Crawley and Colchester can be backed at 250/1 and 500/1 respectively to win it, and for good reason.