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The EFL Cup Third Round Reactions

Tuesday 30th August 2016
The third-round draw has been made for what used to be known as the League Cup, and whilst this competition isn't the be all and end all of English football it certainly offers plenty excitement with this round of games.

All the matches are currently scheduled to be played in the week commencing 19th September 2016.

Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal



Anyone who's ever spent an extensive time in Nottingham will have heard the infamous story how Arsenal was given Forest's kit to use, although the story is a little skewed from the actual truth. Arsenal, when founded, acquired several former Nottingham Forest players who brought their old kit with them. The club at the time working on a budget decided to have them use it and replicate the colour scheme.

Both teams have made inconsistent starts to their respective seasons and will welcome a distraction from the league. Aaron Ramsey and Chuba Akpom will be given the opportunity to revisit the City Ground, where they spent time on loan with Nottingham Forest. Whilst former Gunner, Henri Lansbury awaits the visit from the club which sold him to Nottinghamshire club.

Nottingham Forest is one of the most successful clubs in this competition having lifted the trophy four times before and made a further two appearances in the final. Whether as Arsenal have the unfortunate record of most final appearances without winning the cup; as they've done so five times. The most recent occasion being the aberration of losing the final 2-1 to soon to be relegated side, Birmingham City.

This will be the first meeting between the two sides since the dawn of the new millennium. The last encounter took place in 1999 where Arsenal won 1-0 by the virtue of a Martin Keown goal. Forest fans have to search the record books for their last win over the North London Reds. Some twenty years ago back in 1996, a brace from Alf-Inge Håland provided them with a rare win over the Gunners.  

West Ham United vs Accrington Stanley



League Two side Accrington Stanley enjoyed a sweet extra time victory over local, yet Premier League-based, rivals Burnley, to ensure their participation in the third round. Their reward for doing so was is an away day at the prestigious Olympic Stadium where West Ham have recently moved into to.

The two sides have never met before and Accrington Stanley will have the honour of being the first non-top flight team to play a competitive game at the stadium. Whilst the lower-ranked side will be happy just for an away leg at such a lucrative club, they've already beaten Premier League opposition. There's no reason why they can't do it again.  

Swansea City vs Manchester City



Swansea City's league cup victory back in 2013 back when Michael Laudrup managed the club, this was the Welsh club's most first major title in English football. Manchester City has made this competition a real symbol of the Pellegrini era having lifted the cup both in 2014 and 2016.

Whilst the fixture has become a mainstay of the contemporary Premier League, the two sides have never met each other in a cup competition. Manchester City will enter this game with several advantages; one of which is their dominance in this fixture. Out of the thirty games, the two teams have contested, Manchester City has won nineteen of them.

Despite being linked with a move away from the club, Wilfried Bony has the opportunity to play against his former team at the Liberty here. Whilst he's out of favour at Manchester City, the Ivorian he's proved his worth against his former club having scored every time he's played against them in a Manchester City shirt he's gone on to score.

 

Tottenham Hotspur vs Gillingham



There's also the first-time encounter between Tottenham Hotspur and Gillingham FC. This third round fixture for the League One club has a lot of similarities to their previous match in this competition. They are away from home and they're playing North London club, well… Watford might be technically north of London, as opposed to North London but we're splitting hairs. The Gills overcame Watford at Vicarage Road in a 2-1 victory.

Tottenham Hotspur has a rich tradition in this cup competition having won it four times and contested the final a further four times. The Lilywhites, however, have recently endured several growing pains. The team are clearly on the rise: reaching cup finals, qualifying for the Champions League and being part of the title race, yet always seem to combust at the breaking point. To add to their misery, Arsenal has finished above them, even if their seasons are polar opposites. This cup is close to Spurs heart and could use this as a platform to move forward and bring glory back to their side of North London.

Derby County vs Liverpool



This tie presents a classic encounter between two historic teams which long for the yesteryears where the teams would win the league titles like nobody's business. Derby's heydey came in the 1970s where they won the title twice but have failed to trouble the title picture since. The team now participate in the second tier of English football, despite challenging for promotion several times.

Liverpool fans will be the first to remind of all their previous successes in the league and cup, and after all, they've won the league title a staggering eighteen times. Their success doesn't stop there, though, as they have lifted this trophy a record eight times before, most recently in the 2011/12 season where the team defeated Cardiff City on penalties.

Glancing at the history books and there's a statistical advantage for Liverpool, considering they've won last four games against the Rams. Although the sides haven't met for almost nine years. One of the most emphatic scorelines between the two sides came back in 2007 the Anfield faithful were treated to a 6-0 drubbing of the East Midlands team.

Northampton vs Manchester United



It may take the seasoned football fan to remember, but this fixture is a bit of a golden oldie – with an almost duty-like service to provide goals; despite the teams only meeting four times prior.  In those sparse meetings, there's been an incredible goal count of twenty-three. That's an average of five and three-quarter goals every time the sides meet, more than likely enough to entice the television cameras to Sixfields.

The Cobblers last season enjoyed the fruits of the League Two championship and as a result earned them a spot in this season's League One campaign. So far, for a newly promoted team things are looking just peachy. They are undefeated in the league, with five draws out of five and triumphant against two sides in this competition from higher divisions, including West Bromwich Albion from the Premier League no less. An incoming visit from one of the world's most marketable brands and football club will galvanise the club's early season successes even more.

Manchester United enter this game having never lost to their opposition, and with the expectation that they'll keep that record intact. The Salford Reds have won this cup a fair amount times and are one of the few teams to win the cup in back-to-back seasons; that feat was accomplished between 2009 and 2010 where they defeated Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa in respective seasons. Their current season is going extremely well as they've won two out of two games and their new signings have made instantaneous impacts to the club and their fortunes.
 Sixfields Stadium, where Northampton Town play their home games.
Sixfields Stadium, where Northampton Town play their home games.

Leicester City vs Chelsea



The last time the two sides met was on the last day of the season where Leicester City had already won the title and played the previous season's winners in what turned out to be an exhibition match of sorts. Since then N'Golo Kanté transferred from the Foxes to join Chelsea, which has left the Leicester fans with a bitter taste in their mouth at the thought of their former French playmaker.

Just a few games in, Leicester have been inconsistent, with a loss, draw and most recently a 2-1 win against Swansea City. First-day defeat to Hull City and a lacklustre bore-draw with Arsenal the week after have welcomed the “fluke” comments about their success last term. The team enjoyed success in this competition long before their contemporary rise to fame, having contested the final in the '97, '98 and '00 finals winning the trophy in two of those games.

Under new Italian boss, Antonio Conte, Chelsea looks like a revived team. Yes, it's very early in the season but they're too many positives to ignore. The manager looks animated and passionate and better yet, the team seem to emulate that on the pitch. The team has considerable success in this competition having won it five times and as recent as the 14/15 competition where they defeated Tottenham in the final.
Elsewhere in the league cup, Southampton entertain Benteke and his new side, Crystal Palace. Craven Cottage sees Fulham host south-westerly side, Bristol City. The West Yorkshire side, Leeds United, will revival the battle of the roses as they play Lancashire side, Blackburn Rovers. Championship side host Premier League opposition in Sunderland at Loftus Road. Preston North End make the long trip down to the south coast as they play Bournemouth. Everton clash with last season's relegated yellow-clad Norwich City. There's an all-Championship clash as Brighton and Hove Albion invite Berkshire club, Reading, to the AMEX. There's yet another all second tier tie as Rafael Benitez's Newcastle are still adjusting to life outside the Premier League and will navigate a home game against Wolves. Wrapping up the third round ties is an all Premier League fixture at Britannia as Stoke City await the arrival of playoff winners Hull City.
Warren Smith

A British and J.League soccer enthusiast, now local to Yokohama, Japan. A keen Arsenal supporter. Has been known to play the game every once in awhile, once likened to Xherdan Shaqiri. 


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