EFL Cup Round 4: Can the Hammers Pull Off Another Upset?

The League Cup Trophy (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
The League Cup Trophy (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images) /

EFL Cup is back for this week, with the last 16 taking center stage. There are still teams from each of the top 3 tiers of English football, with at least 1 lower league side guaranteed to be in the draw for the quarterfinals. Here is a preview of what to expect in this week’s action.

Arsenal vs Leeds United (20:45 CET) 

Two of England’s most storied clubs will do battle at The Emirates. The Gunners have been in fine form heading into this one being unbeaten in 7, winning 5 since their 5-0 drubbing to Manchester City back in August.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side, however, have been quite inconsistent with just 1 win since their penalty shootout success in the last round. Regardless of form, this is still a tie that can produce quite the spectacle.

Chelsea vs Southampton (20:45) 

Three and a half weeks following the Blues’ success in the league, Southampton will return to Stamford Bridge hoping for a reversal of fortune.

Unbeaten since that defeat, Ralph Hassenhuttl’s Saints have reason to feel that an upset could be on the cards. It has helped that the Londoners have lost a home game since, plus have several key players out for a bit.

Queens Park Rangers vs Sunderland (20:45) 

Off the top, I mentioned that there will be (at least) one lower league team in the quarterfinals. Well, QPR or Sunderland will be that team. The Black Cats are the lowest-ranked team left in the tournament by the division they play in, hailing from League 1.

It has been 6 wins out of 8 for Sunderland since their success in the previous round. While both teams lost their respective weekend matches, this could be the match of the season so far for both sets of fans.

Burnley vs Tottenham Hotspur (20:45) 

Neither side are heading into this affair with positive results to look to; Spurs having failed to score in each of their last two, while Burnley are still winless in the Premier League.

With games coming quickly for Nuno Espirito Santos’ troops, expect a very different squad at Turf Moor. A victory here would be quite the confidence boost for the Clarets, who are in the relegation zone in the top flight.

Leicester vs Brighton (20:45) 

Another fascinating tie lies ahead at the King Power. Contrasting fortunes for both sides heading into this one. While the Foxes started the season on the wrong foot, they have 3 wins on the spin, including a 7-goal thriller in the Europa League last week.

The Seagulls meanwhile, were in blistering form from the get-go, only to be winless in 4. Can Graham Potters’ side turn things around at the right time?

Preston North End vs Liverpool (20:45) 

In what will be the Championship side’s biggest challenge yet, the Lilywhites welcome the still unbeaten Merseysiders on Wednesday night.

With just 1 win in 6, things do not look promising for Frankie McAvoy’s side. Fortunately for them, it will be a second-string side as this is the second of three straight midweek matches for the Reds.

Stoke vs Brentford (20:45)  

In what is one of the most difficult venues in all of English football to play at, Thomas Frank’s Bees will make the trek to Stoke-on-Trent in midweek.

Despite being promoted from the Championship last season, Brentford did lose at the Bet365 a year ago. Both are on losing runs, so someone will have a more positive outlook of things at the end here.

West Ham United vs Manchester City (20:45) 

This tie is easily the most interesting of the round, at least before a ball is kicked. Pep Guardiola’s defending champs run into a red-hot West Ham side, winners 5 of 6.

Although the Hammers have not seen success against the Cityzens in 6 years, there is no better time to end the negative run. Both sides are in three straight wins, so we could be in for a good one at the London Stadium.

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