The 2019/2020 Carabao enters its round of 16 phase this week with a lot of blockbuster matches taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday. Here is a preview of what is to come.
Oxford United VS. Sunderland
Oxford United caused the biggest shock in the third round with a 4-0 thrashing of West Ham, few days after the Hammers 2-0 win over Manchester United at the London Stadium in the Premier League. The English Football League One side are currently sitting in fifth place in the third-tier division in England and head into this game on the back of an impressive 3-0 victory over Rochdale who themselves were knocked out of the competition on penalties in the third round at Old Trafford. Their visitors Sunderland on the other hand recorded a 1-0 victory over another Premier league opposition Sheffield United in the third round. The Black Cats are currently struggling and now sit in 8th position in league One after they lost 1-0 away against Shrewsbury Town. The fixture on Tuesday presents the opportunity for new Sunderland manager Phil Parkinson to get his team back on track and qualify to the quarter-finals. Oxford at the moment are currently in good form and will be confident ahead of the game at Kassam Stadium against a Sunderland side with a bad away form this season.
Burton Albion VS. Leicester City
Burton advanced to the round of 16 after beating Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth 2-0 in the third round. They currently sit 13th on the League One table after drawing a goalless game against Blackpool last weekend. They will be dreading the prospect of facing Leicester City considering the hot form the Foxes are in at the moment. Leicester City’s 9 goal demolition of Southampton at Saint Mary’s was the biggest away win in the Premier League and could be repeated in this tie considering the home team themselves are currently struggling. This game could be an interesting tie to keep an eye on.
Everton VS. Watford
Under-fire Everton boss Marco Silva welcomes his former side to Goodison Park on the back of a last-gasp 3-2 loss against Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium in a game they felt they deserved at least a draw. Their loss against the Seagulls was their sixth league defeat this season and has seen them dropped to 16th on the English Premier League table. They beat Championship side Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 to advance to this stage. Quique Sanchez Flores and his Watford side are also experiencing a sticky patch themselves and are still searching for a first Premier League victory this season. Their only victory this season so far came in the third-round win over Championship high-flyers Swansea City at Vicarage road. A win for any of these two sides could be the massive turning point they might need to revive their stuttering performances this season.
Crawley Town VS. Colchester United
These two teams are the only remaining teams outside the top 3 English leagues. The two English league two sides meet for the second time this season after Crawley Town won their first encounter earlier this season. Crawley advanced to this round after beating Championship side Stoke City 5-3 on penalties after a 1-1 full-time scoreline. They currently sit in the 17th position in League Two and head into this game on the back of a 4-0 loss at home to Swindon Town over the weekend with Eoin Doyle scoring a hattrick. Colchester United themselves are in 9th position in league Two and were 3-1 winners over Newport County over the weekend. They advanced to the round of 16 stage after beating Tottenham Hotspurs 4-3 on penalties after a goalless draw game. There is a lot at stake here for both sides with the winner representing League Two in the quarter-finals.
Manchester City VS. Southampton
Defending Champions Manchester City would be relishing this encounter considering the mood within the Saints team right now after their humiliating home defeat against Leicester City. Saturday’s win over Aston Villa saw City reclaim second spot on the league log. Pep’s team have won this competition in the last two season and will be looking to getting one step closer to number 3 this season. Southampton’s defeat last Friday has dented the confidence of the players and atmosphere in the club. The players were made to donate their week wages to charity as an apology to the fans. However, this game could provide the biggest redemption for the players. This is the first of two encounters between these two sides in the next 4 days and anything other than a Manchester City victory would be shocking.
Liverpool VS. Arsenal
Jurgen Klopp and his team welcome Unai Emery’s struggling Arsenal for the second time this season after their first meeting ended 3-1 in favor of Liverpool. The Gunners head into this game on the back of a disappointing 2-2 draw at home against Crystal Palace in a game which was marred by VAR controversy and Granit Xhaka’s reaction to the boos from the Arsenal fans towards him. He is expected to be absent for this game. Meanwhile Liverpool beat Spurs 2-1 to maintain their 6-point lead at the top. Both sides are likely to field first-team squads after playing most of their reserve players in the third round.
Chelsea VS. Manchester United
Frank Lampard will be looking to avenge the 4-0 defeat inflicted by United in his first Premier League match as a coach and head into this game with a 7-game winning run. United on the other hand have been inconsistent after the first game this season and will be looking for their third win in a row in all competitions at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.