The League Cup is the easiest way for English clubs to win a trophy. Although it warrants a place in Europe, it isn’t exactly held in the highest regard, with some football fans referring to it as a “Mickey Mouse” cup. However, the competition does give smaller teams a fantastic chance of winning some silverware, as we witnessed last year when Swansea beat League Two outift Bradford in the final. We’ve taken a look at some of the sides that could be in contention for the gong in early 2014.
Manchester United are 10/3 with Paddy Power to win the Capital One Cup. Unlike in previous years, United are actually giving the League Cup a serious go, as Moyes is desperate for a trophy to win over fans. With players such as Shinji Kagawa, Javier Hernandez and Wilfried Zaha being involved in the match squads, this is still a seriously strong United side. They looked impressive against Norwich in the fourth round, and there is no doubt the Red Devils will cause a few problems in the quarter-finals.
West Ham aren’t perhaps the first team on the list of favourites for many football punters, but after two late penalties put them through last week against Burnley, they’ll be keen to prove their pedigree as a tough side to beat in Cup competitions. They are perhaps a decent outside bet at 16/1 to win.
Meanwhile, returning Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho would surely love to mark his comeback with the club by winning a handful of trophies. The League Cup is his first chance of silverware. Chelsea’s previous fixture against Arsenal saw them play Juan Mata, Samuel Eto’o, Willian and Michael Essien, which points to how seriously Mourinho is taking the tournament. If he continues to field strong sides between now and the final, should they make it that far, the Blues could well be favourites to land the crown next spring.
Leicester City are the only non-Premier League side left in the competition with Manchester City, Sunderland, Southampton, and Spurs all eyeing up a place in the last four, and a shot at reaching the decider.
Leicester City v Manchester City
Stoke City v Manchester United
Sunderland or Southampton v Chelsea
Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United