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There are three types of Premier League club when it comes to midweek League Cup games. There are the ones that play their starters, citing they want a trophy, only to be knocked out anyway and renege on their ambitions to begin with when embarrassed. There are the ones who could not care less what the score is and refuse to do anything other than play a bunch of 16 year olds on a school night.
And then there are the Premier League sides who don’t have a squad and end up having to go half-and-half: starters and the other six outfield players on their bench, only for them to be knocked out because nobody’s truly invested. Luckily drawing Rochdale at home is bombproof so Burnley will be fine, but I do expect them to ship a goal here.
Fulham are a Premier League side in the way they go about their business, and we saw that last year. They had an atrocious start, only to pick up with about 10 games to go before once again falling off a cliff.
However, any sort of drop-off from a top-tier opponent will see them punished. Marco Silva may not be well-remembered, but he’s a pragmatist and even though he won’t be winning this tie, he’ll use it as a litmus test to his owners, showing them how much investment they’ll need when they go up at the end of the season.
The battle of the two sides who couldn’t care less what happens because they’ve got far bigger fish and considerably larger worries ahead of them. Not only is that a really bad working title for a film, it’s also the tale of the tape ahead of Norwich and Liverpool. Remember that The Reds rested Virgil van Dijk against AC Milan. Don’t expect a star-studded XI here either and it’ll be a snorefest.
The time has come for an actual cup tie that could conceivably see either side win it. And let me tell you, I fancy an upset here as the Saints will be mentally knackered from not beating Man City at the weekend. Not a sentence you’d have anticipated reading a few days ago, is it?
I think this will be the tie of the round and while Sheffield United continue their slow but steady rise up the second tier after a start that was too bad to be true, they’re finding goalscoring form too. When you capture lightning in a bottle, you ask it to play centre mid against Southampton in the League Cup on a Tuesday. As the saying goes, of course.
19:45 Burnley v Rochdale: Both Teams To Score – Yes
19:45 Fulham v Leeds: Both Teams To Score – Yes
19:45 Norwich v Liverpool: Both Teams To Score – No
19:45 Sheffield United v Southampton: Both Teams To Score – Yes
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