The Carling Cup is in play today and tomorrow – and while we’ve questioned its importance in the past and ways to increase its value, there’s no doubt that there will be some interesting matches being played today and tomorrow.
Will Tottenham beat Liverpool to maintain a successful defence of their title? Can QPR upset Manchester United at Old Trafford? Will the Arsenal Kids thrash Wigan and score points for pretty football?
Have a look at our predictions for each game and then make your own.
Carling Cup fourth round draw (ties to be played 11th and 12th November 2008):
Sunderland v Blackburn: Sunderland haven’t been in good form lately but this is Keane’s chance to turn things around. Blackburn will be tough to play against but injuries and home advantage will give Sunderland a narrow win.
Arsenal v Wigan: Arsenal are set to play youngsters in this round (expect to see Vela, Wilshire and co but the ‘kids’ are still a handful for most football sides. It’ll be interesting to see how Wigan set out to play at the Emirates but Arsenal are solid bets for a win here.
Chelsea v Burnley: No contest, especially since Chelsea’s second string are worthy of a starting spot in most Premier League sides. Chelsea for the win.
Swansea v Watford: Swansea are doing well (relatively) in the Championship and Watford just did away with Boothroyd. People say Championship games can be unpredictable but it’s hard to see Watford get away with a draw, let alone a win. Swansea through to the next round.
Manchester United v QPR: United will give several of their youngsters a chance to shine (say hello to Possebon, Rafael, Evans, Gibson, Manucho and Welbeck). Their focus may be on the league but after losing out on the Carling Cup in the early rounds for the last couple of seasons, Ferguson will want to make sure they are competing on all fronts in the second half of the season. United to beat manager-less QPR.
Stoke v Rotherham: Stoke will want a cup run to complement their decent league form and a chance to prove that they’re not all about Delap’s throw-ins. The game won’t be easy, but Stoke should win.
Derby v Leeds
Along with Sunderland-Blackburn and Spurs-Liverpool, a tough game to call. Derby have had little luck since relegation and Leeds have had little luck for the last few years, but catching Derby at this stage (and form) is the best chance Leeds will get to get through to the next round. Leeds for the win.
Tottenham v Liverpool: The bookies aren’t expecting a repeat of the 2-1 result from their Premier League game earlier this season and fans shouldn’t either. Liverpool will rest a few players but will go to London to ‘set the record straight’ and Tottenham will be up for what amounts to a title defense. I’m going with Liverpool to win this one and bring some realism to the Harry Redknapp revolution.
You’ve heard your predictions, now it’s time to make yours.