Why Chelsea Should Be Carabao Cup Favourites, And Arsenal Are Far Too Short In Latest Betting
Chelsea booked their place in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals last night with a battling 3-2 win over Derby County, but while most of the evening was focused on Frank Lampard returning to his old club, the Blues victory just provided a notable reminder that Maurizio Sarri's side are shaping into one of the elite teams in European football, and silverware is on the horizon for a group of players blossoming under their new manager.
While the Premier League title maybe a bridge too far for the improving Blues, the Carabao Cup is certainly within their sights, and it was with horror to not see the Blues installed as outright favourites for the competition which will conclude in the new year.
Sarri has strengthened the Chelsea squad considerably this season, and with Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek starting to show their best performances in a Blues shirt then that allows Sarri to ring the changes and not necessarily field a significantly weakened team.
Currently hovering around the 7/2 second favourite mark behind 2/1 favourites and current holders Manchester City, Chelsea have been handed an attractive home draw against Bournemouth in the quarter-finals, and while Eddie Howe's Cherries are sparkling in the league this season they showed in their win against Norwich City that their second string isn't a touch on Chelsea's backup side, and the Blues should cruise into the semis.
Pep Guardiola's Manchester City face off against Fulham on Thursday evening, and should be able to scythe through a sieve-like Cottagers defence with ease, but they have been handed a quarter-final away tie to Southampton or Leicester City, whose fourth round match was postponed on Tuesday night. Winners last season, City will put a potential quarter-final tie on December 18 at the bottom of their priorities, as they will face Chelsea 10 days earlier at the Bridge in the Premier League before facing a potential monster Champions League tie with Hoffenheim a few days later.
So, Guardiola will need to shuffle the pack considerably for the Carabao Cup tie, if he is to head into the busy period with all his star players, and that could leave them vulnerable against a Saints or Foxes side that will see this tournament as a huge chance to bag silverware.
While Chelsea should be favourites, another glaring mistake by the bookmakers is Arsenal's current 5/1 odds to lift the Carabao Cup. A workmanlike win over Blackpool last night helped serve up a monster north London derby in the Carabao Cup Quarter-Final Draw with bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur next month, and the Gunners are certainly ranking this tournament at the bottom of their priorities.
Flourishing in the Premier League, Unai Emery's side are also flying in the Europa League, and they have elected the League Cup as the place to bring in some young talent - like they did for many years under Arsene Wenger - so Spurs will fancy downing their foes in December, and Mauricio Pochettino's side will progress to the semis, but will still have some significant work to do to win the trophy they last won in 2008.