Only three rounds remain in the Capital One Cup, and seven of the eight teams in the quarterfinals have been decided.
The fourth round will conclude when Southampton and Sunderland meet on November 6. The match was previously scheduled for October 30, but moved after safety concerns arising from having Newcastle and Sunderland play at home on the same day.
That delay didn't stop the draw for the quarterfinals being made.
It's a bit of a shame that there's going to be only one club remaining from outside the Premier League. Bradford City's run to the final was one of the biggest stories in English football last season, and now Leicester City has a huge mountain to climb if they're to match Bradford's success.
On the other hand, having so many good clubs left means fans should see a high level of play, even if the bigger sides field weaker teams.
Here's the draw for the quarterfinals of the Capital One Cup.
|Capital One Cup Quarterfinal Draw|
|Home Team||Away Team|
|Leicester City||Manchester City|
|Stoke City||Manchester United|
|Sunderland or Southampton||Chelsea|
|Tottenham Hotspur||West Ham United|
Leicester City vs. Manchester City
Leicester City will be in for a rude awakening when they take on Manchester City in the quarterfinals. Here are the Foxes' previous four opponents in their League Cup campaign: Wycombe Wanderers, Carlisle United, Derby County and Fulham.
The Citizens look to be hitting their stride after getting a couple of poor results against Aston Villa and Cardiff City earlier in the league. They were tested against Newcastle in the fourth round of the Capital One Cup on Wednesday.
Manuel Pellegrini has plenty of attacking talent to call upon in order to cruise past Leicester, should the players be up for it.
You hope that there's still some magic left in the League Cup this season. As the only non-EPL side, the Foxes are carrying the banner for the rest of English club football.
Leicester has the advantage of playing at home, so perhaps they'll be able to spring the upset.
Stoke City vs. Manchester United
How will David Moyes approach this Capital One Cup quarterfinal?
In the win against Norwich City on Tuesday, he chose to rest a few of his key players, while opting instead for Javier Hernandez, Wilfried Zaha and Alexander Buttner, who haven't gotten many starts this season.
You could understand why Moyes wouldn't want to risk guys like Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, but it would be nice to win his first trophy at Manchester United after starting the season slowly. Sure, it's only the Capital One Cup, but it's a trophy.
On the other side, Stoke City would gladly settle for a Capital One Cup victory. The Potters don't have the luxury of a large squad with which they can send out a "B" side and expect to progress.
So far, Stoke haven't had a difficult run to the quarterfinals. They met Walsall at home in the second round and then Tranmere Rovers and Birmingham City on the road.
Getting United at the Britannia Stadium is a major boost for Stoke. They're a tough side to break down at home. Mark Hughes hasn't made any radical changes from the strategies employed by Tony Pulis.
This could be the best chance to see an upset in the quarterfinals.
Sunderland or Southampton vs. Chelsea
It doesn't much matter whom Chelsea's opponent will be, you'd favor the Blues. Jose Mourinho won two League Cup titles in his first stint with the club. He knows how to grind out results, and he's not afraid to play very defensively to do so.
Motivation in cup competitions can sometimes be a problem for players in the top sides. Mourinho will find a way to forge that siege mentality, even in the Capital One Cup. He'll have his squad ready to go out and get the job done en route to the semifinals.
The Special One also has a wealth of attacking options at his disposal. Part of that player motivation will come from the likes of Juan Mata, Kevin de Bruyne, Willian and Samuel Eto'o trying to earn a regular place in the first team.
It won't be pretty but expect an ugly 1-0 or 2-0 win from Chelsea. It's the default setting for the club.
Tottenham Hotspur vs. West Ham United
Tottenham Hotspur nearly crashed out of the Capital One Cup in the fourth round, going to penalties against Hull City. It could be the kind of scare the players need in order to push forward and not have another mental lapse.
You wonder, though, if Andre Villas-Boas would accept a loss to West Ham in the quarterfinals. With Spurs balancing a top-four push with their Europa League fixtures, you can accept losses if it means a long-term gain. The Capital One Cup would be a distant third in that competition hierarchy, so if you're going to sacrifice a match, it would be the League Cup.
Should Tottenham have another sluggish performance, West Ham will be able to snatch the three points.
Say what you want about Sam Allardyce, but you know exactly what you're getting with him. He's proven to be a capable manager with mid-table sides.
West Ham's direct style would be perfect against a club like Tottenham. Spurs like to dominate possession, but they've had a hard time finishing off their attacking chances.
The Hammers could launch a long ball forward on the counter and snatch a goal.
This fixture could be the most intriguing because of that clash of styles.
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