English Football: EFL Cup Quarterfinal PreviewPublished December 18, 2017 by Sol FH
Four matches this week in the EFL Cup Quarterfinal and teams need to balance the hectic schedule.
The EFL Cup Quarterfinals are going down this week with matches on Tuesday and on Wednesday night this week. The matches this week come after a heavy schedule for many of the teams has left them pondering whether or not they should be playing their first team or not. The fact that the EFL is in the Quarterfinal stage should be enough motivation to ensure that teams will at the very least be trying to win, and at the most should be giving it everything they've got.
Arsenal vs West Ham - This will be the second time that the Gunners and the Hammers have met in under a week. Last Wednesday, they met at the Emirates, which ended in a scoreless draw, but not before Javier Hernandez rattled the bottom of the goal post in injury time, just missing out on a home victory. Following that match, the Gunners barely beat Newcastle, while West Ham defeated Stoke 3-0 with goals from Mark Noble, Marko Arnautovic, and Diafra Sakho were too much for Stoke to handle.
On Tuesday Night at 19:45 GMT, we should be treated to an intense match between these two that should end in an Arsenal victory with their home stadium advantage. If Arsene Wenger can win, it would be the Gunners' first trip to the EFL Semifinal since 2011. 888sport has heavily favored Arsenal to win the match and is offering odds in their favor at 1.42, while West Ham is definitely the underdogs for this one at 6.25. A draw after 90 minutes is set at 4.25.
Leicester vs Manchester City - Aside from the Arsenal match, the remaining three are to be played on Wednesday Night. This one will be kicking off at 21:45 GMT from King Power Stadium in front of what should be a sold-out crowd. Leicester is not having the best season in the Premier League, currently in 8th place with 26 points. They lost a tough one to Crystal Palace over the weekend 0-3 and also received a red card in the 61'.
City couldn't be any different from Leicester in the Premier League. They currently reside high above the rest of the pack in the standings with 52 points, and not even a single loss yet this year over 18 matches. Pep Guardiola is the mastermind behind City's success this season and has taken the team to new heights while at the helm. City will be looking for a spot in the Semifinal and expect another home loss for the Foxes, after all, is said and done. betfair sports couldn't agree more with that prediction and is offering odds of 1.44 for City, and 7.00 for the home side.
Chelsea vs Bournemouth - Beginning at the same hour as the Leicester match, the Blues are in a terrific position to advance to the Semifinals of the EFL Cup. Chelsea has not reached the Semifinals of the tournament since they won the whole thing in 2015 under Jose Mourinho, but Antonio Conte has a bit of a juggling act on his hands ahead of setting the lineup for Wednesday Night.
Conte would really like to give those players that won the matches early on in the EFL Cup a chance to play against Bournemouth, but he also really wants to make it to the next round. By playing names like Michy Batshuayi, Conte may very well be giving Bournemouth a better chance to win, but with hardware on the line, expect to see a very tough Chelsea squad come out to play. The Blues won a narrow victory against Southampton on the weekend and will need to do much better to beat the Saints.
Bournemouth is now a winless squad in their last five games. They were crushed by Liverpool on Sunday Night, lost to United last week, but held Crystal Palace to a 2-2 draw earlier this month. To say that Bournemouth are the underdogs would be a shortcoming, as they really need a miracle to stop Chelsea. Of all of the odds surrounding the EFL Quarterfinals, none are as one-sided as is this match. 888 Sport posted odds in favor of Chelsea at 1.21, and 11.00 for Bournemouth.
Bristol City vs Manchester United - The last of the EFL Quarterfinals gets underway at 20:00 GMT and all eyes will be on United to see if they will make the Semifinals. Jose Mourinho is no stranger to the EFL Cup and has won it in the past. In fact, Mourinho won it last year with the Red Devils, and, he won it in 2015 as mentioned with the Blues. It will be great to see if he can make it a 3-peat, but time will tell. betfair likes United's chances after posting odds in their favor at 1.33. Bristol City is at 9.00.