Betting: League Cup 23.09.14Jake Cooper | 12 Oct 2016
As the League Cup enters its third round, the Premier League’s top seven clubs now join the 25 winners from Round 2. Tonight we see Arsenal play their first game against Southampton whilst Liverpool take on Championship side Middlesbrough.
I take a look at what to expect from tonight’s games and offer my betting tips on the best teams to back.
Arsenal v Southampton – 19.45 Emirates stadium
Arsenal host Southampton at Emirates tonight and it looks like Arsene Wenger will use the game to give some of his younger players some much-needed match time.
Chuba Akpom has been displaying some serious skills for the Under-21s lately, scoring six goals in just four matches and most likely securing himself some time on the pitch. Other hopefuls include Hector Bellerin, Serge Gnarbry and Joel Campbell.
With Mathieu now confirmed as out of action for the next three months, Wenger may use Kieran Gibbs in defence alongside former Southampton academy alumnus Calum Chambers who would face his old side for the first time.
Despite Wenger’s rotation policy, Arsenal have progressed past round three in the League Cup every year since 2002-03 and with Southampton currently standing higher than them in the table, the Gunners will need to take their opponents seriously to reach the next round.
Southampton boss Ronald Koeman wants to make sure that his team are focused as they head to the Emirates Stadium tonight.
Despite a new manager and a very different squad from the 2013-14 season, Southampton have come together quickly and currently rank second in the Premier League. Several of last season’s top players were transferred this summer including Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren but the team’s upwards trajectory appears to have continued into their 2014-15 campaign.
Koeman is keen not to let his players become complacent with their current winning streak.
“Of course, it’s a great start,” he told reporters today. “Maybe nobody expected this, but we believe in our ambition and our spirit. We have to keep fighting every day to continue with the results we’ve had until now.”
Carl Calls It: If you’re betting on the game then I’d back Southampton. They’ll be taking the game more seriously than the Gunners and they’ve got momentum to secure another win. Southampton to win is priced at 3/1 at Paddy Power which will return £40 for £10 bet.
Liverpool v Middlesbrough – 19.45 Anfield
With more losses than wins so far in the Premier League, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is looking for a much-needed morale boost in tonight’s game against Middlesbrough.
Liverpool were left devastated after their 3-1 defeat at Upton Park at the weekend, their third loss in five Premier League games, and need to return to their winning ways before Saturday’s derby clash against Everton.
Although Liverpool may have bigger fish to fry with Champions League football to focus on too, Rodgers is determined to use the League Cup to help them team refocus and practise working together.
“We’ve got a massive game in the Cup in the week and then and even bigger game next week when we play the derby,” he told reporters. “We need to get back to winning again.
“We have lost three out of our five games, so we need to be much better. We showed the potential in our team in the Tottenham game and we need to look to get back to that level as quickly as we can.
“There’s no doubt we need to go back onto the training ground and continue to work. We have set a new expectancy at the club that we have to deal with now.
“We have got lots of games and Liverpool as a football club is always a club that people want to beat, but certainly now in particular. But we have to deal with that and that is something that we will do.”
Middlesbrough have reach the third round having enjoyed easy wins over Oldham and Preston in the Cup and travel to Merseyside on the back of several consecutive wins.
Aitor Karanka believes that the momentum and the right attitude could be the deciding factor in their game against Liverpool tonight.
“The most important thing is that we keep going in this way and win games,” he said in a statement on the club’s website. “We have won three in a row now, we have another on Tuesday and we have to keep looking at the following game.”
Carl Calls It: If you’re the sort of person who likes betting on the underdog then Middlesbrough wouldn’t be a bad shout. Paddy Power gives Boro 5/1 odds of upsetting Liverpool at Anfield which would return £60, whilst the safer bet of Liverpool to win would give you just £16 back from a tenner.