2010 Carling Cup: Looking Into The Fourth Round Draw and Early Preditcions
I've been thinking for a week or so what to make my first article about, and I've settled onto this Saturday's Carling Cup draw.
While it is quite obvious that the big teams take this quite lightly, winning the cup still guarantees a Europa League place next season.
And following the departure of Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool already in the Third Round, the teams still in might be feeling that this is their season to make it all the way.
Over the next 8 slides, I'll be looking at the Fourth Round ties and making my early guesses as to who is going to win.
Newcastle United vs Arsenal
Newcastle pulled off the shock of the round, beating the-then unbeaten Chelsea 3-4 with a last minute goal by Shola Ameobi. And now they have to deal with the youth at Arsenal.
It's almost a gimme that Arsene Wenger will play his young players for this game, and you have to think that Newcastle will feel that, after their win Midweek, they can beat the Arsenal Kids and get their name in the fifth round.
Down in London, it took 120 minutes for the Gunners to put away Tottenham. When they go up to Newcastle, they wont be playing with the passion of a big derby.
Even with all of the evidence to support Newcastle, I can see the Gunners pulling this one off, albeit in extra time.
Prediction: Arsenal in 120 Minutes
Birmingham vs Brentford
Birmingham never really felt pressured as they won 3-1 against MK Dons, and they will be extremely happy with their draw. They will feel that they can win this one and get into the Fifth Round of the cup.
Brentford had a night to remember as they put away Everton on penalties at home. They will be fired up for this game, but unlike last round, they will be in enemy territory.
I think this will be one step too far for Brentford and Birmingham will be going through quite convincingly.
Prediction: Birmingham by 2 goals
Wigan vs Swansea
Wigan left it late against a tough Preston side, but two goals in the last 5 minutes saw them win 2-1 at the DW Stadium. The Latics are having a tough start to the season and they certainly didn't dominate the game on Wednesday.
Swansea, on the other hand, are pushing for a playoff spot in the Npower Championship, currently lying in 9th, beat Peterborough 1-3, courtesy of a Hat-Trick by Scott Sinclair.
I don't have much to say about this one. It will be a close match, if not a bit dull, and I fully expect this match to go all the way:
Prediction: Penalty Shoot-Out
Aston Villa vs Burnley
It's been an odd start to the season for Aston Villa, but Gerard Houllier's first game in charge of the Villains ended in a 3-1 win over Blackburn and a rare goal for striker Emile Heskey. With a new manager in charge, anything could happen between now and the end of October.
Owen Coyle's former team, Burnley, beat his current team, Bolton, 1-0 over midweek to book their place in the Fourth Round. The Clarets are pushing also for the Championship playoffs and a good cup run can never hurt.
The last time these two teams faced each other, the Claret and Blue team from Birmingham took the game 5-2, and as long as there are no major shocks at Villa Park between here and October 25, I can see a similar difference for Villa.
Prediction: Villa to win comfortably
Leicester vs West Brom
Leicester were touted as title contenders at the start of the Championship season, yet they find themselves at the bottom after 8 games. They beat fellow strugglers Portsmouth 1-2 to get here, but on Friday, the same team beat them 6-1, so who knows with them.
West Brom, on the other hand, have pulled off a shock win over Arsenal after they pulled off a shock win over Manchester City 2-1, so they are going to be brimming with confidence.
It seems like a one-sided battle here, but Leicester will feel that a win over an EPL club like West Brom will help kickstart their season. A close game here would be most likely
Prediction: West Brom by one goal
Manchester United vs Wolves
Manchester United survived an early scare to win easily 2-5 against a battling Scunthorpe side. The defending champions are also now looking at closing the gap at the top of the EPL to 1 point behind Chelsea, so everything looks to be going their way right now.
Wolverhampton Wanderers beat Notts County 4-2 to reach this far, but they are currently lying in the lower half of the table, they play Aston Villa on Sunday, and you have to feel they need to get a good run going if they want a chance at beating the current holders.
Man United should have this one under control and, while I don't think it will be a 3 goal difference, Wolves will need something special to beat them.
Prediction: Man United in normal time.
West Ham United vs Stoke City
West Ham played Stoke before their cup tie, with the teams sharing the points with a 1-1 draw. Then they managed to beat Sunderland 1-2 to get this far in the cup. They are gathering a bit of form now, with a 1-0 win over Tottenham lifting them from the bottom of the table. If they can keep this form up, they could be looking at a Fifth Round draw.
Stoke beat Fulham 2-0 to get here, and also have a bit of form going themselves, beating Aston Villa in the dying seconds 2-1 and they play Newcastle on Sunday. They are always dangerous with throw ins and Kenwyne Jones has picked up a couple of goals since signing at the end of August.
Having drawn 1-1, you would be forgiven for thinking that this game would go to extra time. But I feel that if West Ham can get a few more good results between now and the game, then they will go into the game with the home advantage and win in a close encounter.
Prediction: West Ham by a goal in normal time
Ipswich Town vs Northampton Town
Ipswich beat Milwall 1-2 to get into this round, and must be thanking their stars that they drew Northampton. They will be seriously thinking that they can turn over the League Two side to get in to the next round.
The shock of the Third Round, Northampton Town beat EPL Giants Liverpool 4-2 on penalties after a 2-2 game. Northampton will be buoyed by the result and will be fired up to take on another Championship team, after knocking out Reading earlier on.
Both teams will feel like they have a great chance to win this, but I think Ipswich will be wary of the threat that this little club can carry.
Prediction: Ipswich in extra time or penalties.
It's been an interesting Carling Cup so far, and we have a few interesting matches to look forward to, especially Newcastle against Arsenal. Of course, these are only early guesses, and we will have to wait until closer to the games to really make proper predictions.
Well that concludes my first article, thanks to anyone who read through it and hopefully look out for more articles in the future.