Eight will become four after this week’s Carabao Cup Round Five ties. There are two encounters on Tuesday, with the same number to follow on Wednesday, and we’ve previewed them here…
All-London affair at the Emirates
Arsenal and West Ham United meet for only the third time in this competition, with their most recent match-up coming in 1998, where the Gunners ran out 2-1 winners.
The Carabao Cup is the sole English domestic trophy that Arsene Wenger is yet to win during his tenure at the North-London based outfit. The Hammers have never lifted the cup in their history, but have been runners-up on two occasions.
Wenger’s men have reached this stage thanks to respective home victories over Doncaster Rovers and Norwich City, with the latter seeing youngster Eddie Nketiah firing a brace to send Arsenal through in extra time.
The men from the London Stadium, who are now under the stewardship of David Moyes, began their road to the fifth round at Cheltenham Town, where goals from Diafra Sakho and Andre Ayew saw them progress. They’ve since comfortably seen off Bolton Wanderers, before coming from two goals down at Wembley to defeat Tottenham Hotspur 3-2.
A tale of two Cities
There’s a clash between two former holders at the King Power Stadium, where Leicester City play host to high-flying Manchester City.
The Foxes have won the competition three times previously, but their opponents have gone one better, taking their tally to four courtesy of a Wembley triumph in 2016.
Past meetings have seen the Citizens defeat Leicester every time they’ve faced off in the competition — the most recent of which was a 3-1 win at this stage in 2013.
Tuesday’s hosts have scored freely en route to Round Five, by comfortably dispatching Sheffield United, Liverpool and Leeds United. Progression has been a little tougher for Pep Guardiola’s side, after a narrow success at West Bromwich Albion was followed up by a penalty shootout victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Cup history for the Cherries?
Bournemouth will be aiming to reach the semi-final of a major cup competition for the first time on Wednesday night, but they’ll have to get past five-time champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in order to do so.
The two outfits’ paths have only crossed twice in this competition before, as the Blues won a two-legged Second Round tie 2-0 on aggregate, with 1-0 triumphs in each encounter back in 1994.
Successive home wins have taken Antonio Conte’s men to this point. They kicked off things with an emphatic 5-1 beating of Nottingham Forest, where Michy Batshuayi grabbed himself a hat-trick, ahead of seeing off fellow Premier League side Everton 2-1.
The Cherries’ first win of the 2017/18 season came in the Carabao Cup, at Birmingham City. Then two good nights on home turf followed, with Brighton and Hove Albion and Middlesbrough defeated.
Ashton Gate date for the holders
It’s a trip to Sky Bet Championship side Bristol City for Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United, who of course have their sights set on defending the crown.
The Robins and United have never previously met in this competition, and you have to go back as far as 1980 to find the last time the two went head-to-head. On that occasion, Joe Jordan notched a brace in a routine 4-0 win at Old Trafford for the Red Devils.
Lee Johnson has seen his players blow teams away since the competition’s commencement in August, with three out of their four victories coming against Premier League opposition.
Mourinho’s men began by sweeping aside Burton Albion, prior to knocking out Swansea City, who succumbed to a Jesse Lingard brace.
Carabao Cup: Round Five fixtures (7:45pm kick-off unless stated)
Tuesday 19th December 2017
Arsenal v West Ham United
Leicester City v Manchester City (live on Sky Sports)
Wednesday 20th December 2017
Chelsea v Bournemouth
Bristol City v Manchester United (8pm - live on Sky Sports)