Today and tomorrow we will witness the quarter finals of the English Football League Cup, 2 matches tonight and 2 tomorrow.  I think we certainly have a few interesting game ahead to enjoy.

Tuesday 29th November

Both kick offs are at 7:45pm.

Hull City (PL) vs Newcastle United (CHA)

Ex premier league side Newcastle United, will travel to KCOM stadium to face Hull City.  Newcastle are top of the championship and would like to keep their run going both in cup competitions and the league.  Assuming that Newcastle will go onto win the Championship, they will be very much up to adding another trophy to their cabinet, to make their season out of the premiership an extra success.  Hull City themselves are in a spot of bother at the moment in the premier league being 13 games into the season with one 11 points, they currently find themselves in 18th place, level on points with Crystal Palace.

Hull City come into this match after a 1-1 draw at the weekend against 9th place West Bromwich Albion, a result that they should consider fairly ok.  Their most recent win was back at the start of November when they beat Southampton 2-1 at home.  Personally I see Hull coming into this match, wanting to give their fans something to cheer about after quite a poor start to the season.  Hull do have the quality to create a result tonight in my opinion, they have the likes of midfielder Robert Snodgrass who so far has had a cracking season for Hull despite their poor start.  He is a player that Hull will certainly look to keep hold of come the January transfer window/end of the season.  So far in the EFL cup Hull have seen off the Exeter, Stoke City and in the Round of 16 saw off Bristol City 2-1, all of these ties being away from home.  So this will be their first tie of their EFL cup campaign being played at home.  Manager of Hull City, Mike Phelan is fairly optimistic about the clash, but does see the problems that Newcastle could cause and the advantage they have with their significantly more experience manager Rafa Benitez.

Newcastle on their way to the quarter finals have seen off the likes of Cheltenham Town, Wolves and Preston North End scoring 10 goals across the 3 ties all of which have been at their home.  Their match in the round of 16 was a 6-0 thumping of Preston North End.  Rafa Benitez similarly to Mike Phelan is fairly optimistic about the clash, they could have received much worse opponents like Liverpool and Manchester United.  However isn’t careless enough to see that Hull won’t tough opponents, so he will want to bring his team into the match with a mindset focused on getting a result for their supporters travelling to the KCOM stadium.

Expected Line Ups:

Newcastle: Darlow, Dummett, Clark, Lascelles, Anita, Gouffran, Shelvey, Colback, Ritchie, Diame, Gayle

Hull City: Marshall, Clucas, Maguire, Dawson, Davies, El Mohamedy, Livermore, Mason, Henriksen, Snodgrass, Mbokani

Prediction: I can really see Newcastle United coming away with a win in this quarter final, they go into the fixture with more confidence Hull, having a better run than them.  I think they will come away with a 2-0 win.

Liverpool vs Leeds United

I think this game will be a true cracker, despite everyone being pretty sure that Liverpool will come away with a win, Leeds are a tough side and will be sure to put up a good fight.

Once upon a time, both of these teams were dominate forces in the UK and hopefully their rivalry of old can come out to produce a great clash.  Leeds since coming down to the Championship are still looking for their way back into the top flight and have had their reputation slightly tarnished.  However this season could be the one where they do achieve their glorious return to the prem.  Gary Monk has got his side on course this season and have had a pretty good start to the season with 9 wins 2 draws and 7 losses, 2 points behind 4th place Birmingham.   On their way to the quarter final, Leeds saw off the likes of Fleetwood Town, Luton Town, Blackburn Rovers and Norwich City.

Jurgen Klopp has been in charge of Liverpool for just over a year now and is still looking for his first trophy at the club despite reaching 2 trophy finals in Liverpool’s previous campaign (the League Cup and Europa League).  The have had a great start so far to the premier league season currently finding themselves in 2nd place, 1 point behind league leaders Chelsea.  So far in their League Cup campaign Liverpool have seen off Burton, Derby and Spurs.

Leeds come into this quarter final match off the back of a 2-1 win of Rotherham on Saturday, while Liverpool had a 2-0 win against Sunderland in front of their home fans on Saturday.

Expected Lineups:

Liverpool: Mignolet, Arnold, Lucas Klavan, Moreno, Grujic, Stewart, Ejaria, Woodburn, Origi, Ojo

Leeds: Green, Ayling, Bartley, Jansson, Taylor, O’Kane, Phillips, Doukara, Vierira, Roofe, Wood

Prediction:  With Liverpool expected to field a fairly weak 11 in this match to rest players for their weekend fixture against Bournemouth, I could really see this fixture going either way.  Leeds will come to Anfield wanting a result for their travelling fans and will want to shock everyone and win.  However I think that Liverpool should be able to comfortably beat Leeds 3-1.

Wednesday 30th November

Arsenal vs Southampton

One of two great clashes to look forward on a Wednesday night.  Both teams wanting to get a result to see them through to the semi final.

Arsenal come into this match after returning to winning ways on Sunday with a 3-1 win at home over Bournemouth and they now sit in 4th place 3 points behind league leaders Chelsea.

On the other side of the table we have Southampton who picked up 1-0 win over Everton, their first win in three games.  Southampton haven’t picked up a major trophy since 1976 and the last time they came close to winning one was in 2003 in the FA Cup where they lost 1-0 in the final to Arsenal.  Southampton will be certainly looking to field a good side on Wednesday night to get them the win and take them closer to winning their first trophy in a long time.

Arsene Wenger is of course favourable of his youth team in domestic competitions and will likely bring a few into the first team on Wednesday.  Their third choice goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez could also make a start.

Southampton have the likes Sofiane Boufal and Steven Davis both returning from injury, Boufal from a knock, whilst Davis was out due to illness.  However both have returned to training ahead of Wednesday nights fixture.

Expected Lineups:

Arsenal: Martinez, Gibbs, Holding, Gabriel, Jenkinson, Xhaka, Eleny, Iwobi, Ramsey, Chamberlain, Perez

Southampton: Forster, Yoshida, Fonte, Stephens, McQueen, Reed, Ward-Prowse, Hojbjerg, Boufal, Rodriguez, Austin

Prediction: I think that this match will be a tough one for both teams, however I think that Arsenal should come away from a victory in this match. 2-1 Arsenal.

Manchester United vs West Ham United

Another cracker should be expected between Man United and the Hammers and it could see the result going either way.  United have had a fairly poor start to the season and Mourinho will look to bring his first piece of silverware to Manchester United by fielding a solid team that will go out for a win in this game, similar to how he went about things in his first season at Chelsea (the first time around).  West Ham are also under performing hugely this season compared to last year only coming away with 3 wins from 13 matches in the Premier League this season.  So both teams will come into this match wanting to give their fans something to cheer about.

This will be the second time that Manchester United and West Ham have met in the space of four days after their 1-1 draw at the weekend in the Premier League.  Manchester United will have to play without 2 of their strongest midfielders Pogba and Fellani both suspended from reaching 5 bookings this season.

Michael Carrick has returned to training which could help to give United a boost and could be seen to pair up with Herrera in the midfield.  We could also see Rooney and Mkhitaryan start on Wednesday night after both gave impressive performances at the weekend.

Andy Caroll could also be back for the Hammers and could be what they need to see off Manchester United if he starts on Wednesday, although it is unlikely.  However Diafra Sakho who scored at the weekend will definitely be out for the Hammers.

Expected Lineups:

Manchester UnitedDe Gea, Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Darmian, Herrera, Carrick, Rashford, Rooney, Mkhitaryan, Ibrahimovic.

West Ham United: Randolph, Kouyate, Collins, Ogbonna, Antonio, Obiang, Noble, Cresswell, Lanzini, Payet, Fletcher

PredictionMourinho will be fielding a side to win and really needs a win to give more confidence to United that they could get something from this season.  If United play well they should be able to outclass the Hammers and pick up a decent victory. 2-0 United.

Overall some great matches to look forward to in the EFL League Cup and we look forward to reviewing them.