Tuesday 15th September 2020
In Across the Leagues today:
After a round of knockout ties last week involving lower-league sides, Premier League clubs enter the Carabao Cup starting from tonight.
These rounds are pretty good hunting grounds for upsets. Last season, the first stage of the competition that involved Premier League sides saw top-flight Bournemouth draw 0-0 with Forest Green, Crystal Palace beaten on penalties by Colchester, Burnley lose at home v Sunderland, and Crawley Town knock out Norwich.
In the following round, Bournemouth, Tottenham, West Ham and Sheffield United all come a cropper against lower-league opposition – Burton, Colchester, Oxford Utd and Sunderland, respectively.
Not to mention Man Utd drawing with Rochdale and needing penalties to get through, and likewise for Wolves against Reading.
With no extra time in these ties, a 90-minute draw takes proceedings straight to penalties.
And with this EFL (Carabao) Cup low down the agenda for many if not all of the top sides, squad rotation is a very real factor.
For example, as with the FA Cup in recent times, resting your goalkeeper is usually a sign that things aren’t being given total respect or commitment.
Potential banana skins…
There are cup matches tonight, tomorrow and Thursday.
This evening’s underdog-friendly ties could include Burton Albion of League One, who have Premier League visitors, Aston Villa.
Burton made the 4th round of this competition last season, beating Bournemouth 2-0 in the 3rd round. And in 2018/19, Albion made a run all the way to the semi finals. The home team are 15/2 (8.5) for the upset tonight, and 10/3 (4.33) To Qualify.
Nigel Clough isn’t in charge at Burton anymore though, so it will be interesting to see if any of the cup magic has gone with him.
Oxford Utd at home to Watford is an interesting one, too. Oxford beat West Ham 4-0 last season, on the way to reaching the quarter finals, where there was no shame in a 3-1 defeat to the eventual Carabao Cup winners, Manchester City.
Karl Robinson’s League One side also showed a taste for cup football in pushing top-flight Newcastle all the way to a replay and then extra time in the FA Cup 4th round.
Having just dropped down from the Premier League to the Championship, and with a new manager in Vladimir Ivic set to get his first taste of English cup football this evening, Watford could be in the vulnerable category as they head to Oxford for this one…
Ivic has said he’s going to treat “every game as a priority.” Let’s see how his Watford side line-up tonight.
Oxford are 7/2 (4.5) for the win, 15/8 (2.88) to qualify.
For bigger prices, I like the script for an away-day League Cup upset in London today…
West Ham v Charlton…
West Ham never seem far away from calamity. Starting the Premier League campaign with a 0-2 defeat v Newcastle last weekend was far from ideal for David Moyes.
Last season’s 4-0 Carabao Cup humiliation at Oxford occurred before Moyes arrived at the Hammers. But he was there to oversee the 0-1 home defeat against then-Championship side West Brom in the FA Cup in January…
Darren Randolph was in goal for that game. Randolph, who incidentally started his career at tonight’s opponents Charlton, looks set to feature between the sticks tonight. He’s primarily used as a back-up and cup-game ‘keeper these days.
If that’s the case with the no.1 jersey, then the mood could be set for Charlton to get something here…
Former West Ham player and boyhood fan Lee Bowyer is in charge at Charlton. His Addicks side have started 2020/21 in decent fashion, winning 3-1 at Swindon in the 1st round of this competition. Before opening up in League One with a 2-0 win at Crewe on Saturday.
Continuing the personnel connection between these two London clubs, Hammers midfielder Josh Cullen spent the last two seasons on loan at Charlton. He’s back in a West Ham kit this term.
The Premier League club have got a scary fixture list coming up. All of which gives reason to doubt the strength of the starting XI that David Moyes might send out tonight…
West Ham’s upcoming opponents:
Man City (h)
With that very, very tough run of fixtures through September and October, it’s no wonder that West Ham at 2/1 to be Relegated, and Moyes as 2/1 favourite to be Next Premier League Manager to Leave, are much shorter prices than for the Hammers to win this cup (33/1 – 50/1).
With Bowyer sure to fill the Charlton dressing room with fighting talk tonight, the upset could be on here…
Markets & prices…
In the match-result based markets, the underdogs are a top-price 10/1 to win, and around 4/1 to qualify (eg. to win in normal time, or on pens). The 90-mins draw is 4/1.
If you fancy any of those, then take your pick.
The market I like is Charlton Draw No Bet, available at a standout 9/1, and 7/1 in general. This pays out on a victory in normal time, and returns stakes in the event of a draw.
With no extra time here, the Draw No Bet (or ‘0 Asian Handicap’) option removes the ‘lottery’ of the penalty shootout. And protects stakes in the event of a near-miss in terms of it ending all square in open play.
If Charlton are going to get the job done in 90 minutes, then they’ll obviously need to find the net at least once…
Macauley Bonne warrants our attention here, at 15/4 (4.75) in the Anytime Scorer betting.
The Charlton striker has got one goal from two starts in all competitions so far in this new season. And he ended 2019/20 with three goals in five games in the Championship in July. He’s one to look out for in the Scorer markets this evening.
West Ham v Charlton
Carabao Cup (EFL/ League Cup)
I’ll be back tomorrow. As well as more Carabao Cup action, we’ll be taking a look at the 2020/21 ante post markets for Italy and Germany. Serie A and the Bundesliga both kick off this weekend. We’ll also be taking note of the latest goings-on in France and Austria.
Enjoy the football…