Fixtures are coming thick and fast in the Carabao Cup this season, we look ahead to Round Three and a handful of fixtures to watch out for this week.
Luton Town v Manchester United
Sky Bet Championship side Luton Town have put last season’s close shave of relegation behind them and are currently joint top of the league standings alongside Reading and Bristol City.
Unbeaten in four games this season and clearly flying under the leadership of Nathan Jones (who returned to the club to perform the great escape), it would be a campaign to remember for the Hatters.
Beating Manchester United in Round Three could be the icing on the cake for their early season start, and with the way both teams are set, you would not put it past Luton Town to progress to Round Four.
The Reds found their first game of the Premier League season to be rather difficult, as they lost 3-1 at Old Trafford to Crystal Palace - with former player Wilfried Zaha scoring a double to sink his old employers.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær, like Mourinho, will be hoping not to be on the wrong end of a giant-killing. We could be in line to see United new boy Donny van de Beek start his first game for the club, after coming off the bench at the weekend to score on his debut.
Chelsea v Barnsley
Frank Lampard’s Chelsea side are still putting the pieces together after a flurry of new signings passed through the door at Stamford Bridge. The Blues have spent over £200 million on four players at the start of this campaign, and will see the Carabao Cup as the perfect opportunity to win some silverware.
Coming off the back of a 2-0 defeat to current Premier League champions Liverpool at the weekend, Lampard will more than likely rotate his squad ahead of their game against Barnsley on Wednesday night.
But the rotation will only drive Lampard to want to win more, to show the strength in depth that this Chelsea side have. But their opponents will not lie down and roll over so easily.
We saw it last season when the Tykes were fighting for their lives in the Championship, as they put everything into the final five games which saw them eventually stave off relegation and survive in the unlikeliest of fashions.
A win for Gerhard Struber’s side is much needed. Despite winning both games in this competition which has got them to Round Three, they are still yet to pick up a win in league action.
Safe passage to Round Four with a win over Premier League big boys could ignite their season, and all eyes will be on Stamford Bridge to see what happens in this one.
Fleetwood Town v Everton
Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton are flying this season. The Toffees are unbeaten in the Premier League thus far, having seen off Tottenham Hotspur on the opening day and followed that up with an impressive 5-2 to victory over West Bromwich Albion on Saturday afternoon.
The blue side of Merseyside have never lifted this trophy; the last time they were in with a chance of winning this competition came back in 1984 but they lost to rivals Liverpool after a second-leg affair at Manchester City’s old ground, Maine Road.
This season more than any seems like the perfect opportunity for Everton to pick up this famous old trophy and, under someone as experienced as Ancelotti, you would not put it past them.
But, before they start dreaming of that Wembley date in 2021, they must overcome Joey Barton’s Fleetwood Town side who, like the Toffees, have been impressive in league action so far.
Despite losing in the dying moments of their game against Peterborough United at the weekend, the Cod Army were more than worth a point in that game at the ABAX Stadium.
It wasn’t to be on that occasion, but that will not see Barton’s side fold with self-pity, and you will no doubt see a side raring to cause an upset on Wednesday evening.
Lincoln City v Liverpool
The current Premier League champions Liverpool travel to Sincil Bank in Round Three of the Carabao Cup Thursday night, looking to go one better from their Semi-Final exit last season.
We have seen the quality that Jurgen Klopp’s side possess and they have only added more of the same with the additions of Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich and Diogo Jota from Wolverhampton Wanderers so far this transfer window.
A 2-0 win over Chelsea on Sunday further highlighted their strength, and it will be down to Michael Appleton’s Imps to show them that they will not be feared, no matter how strong they might be.
Lincoln have won four out of their five games already this season and are looking to become another side to cause a Premier League side some trouble in the Carabao Cup.
They certainly face a different challenge to the one they were up against in the last round, where they saw of Bradford City by five-goals-to-nil, but their application will be no doubt be the same.