The Capital One Cup certainly didn’t disappoint last night, with Arsenal’s thrilling comeback from four goals down to win 7-5 at Reading supplemented by a cracking game between Swindon and Aston Villa, Leeds drubbing Southampton, Middlesbrough winning at north-east rivals Sunderland and League Two Bradford City dumping out Premier League opponents Wigan Athletic.
So what does this competition, so often derided in the past and still regarded by the big clubs as a distraction rather than a trophy worth really fighting for, have in store for us tonight?
If we learned anything from Tuesday’s action, it’s that entertainment is pretty much always guaranteed in the Capital One Cup and predicting the outcomes of matches is a notoriously tricky business.
The pick of the action is undoubtedly at Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea and Manchester United will renew hostilities after their bad-tempered Premier League meeting in west London just three short days ago.
And while the latest encounter has been overshadowed by the unsavoury allegations surrounding referee Mark Clattenburg in the wake of United’s stormy 3-2 win on Sunday, matches between these two sides are rarely dull affairs.
Meanwhile, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers will have an early reunion with his former employers as the Reds take on Swansea City at Anfield, with Tottenham completing the Wednesday schedule as they travel to Norwich City.
Punters with bwin accounts will be pleased to know that we have decided to offer a superb enhanced treble price this evening on United, Liverpool and Spurs all winning inside 90 minutes.
Backing the trio on a normal coupon would provide combined odds of just over 7/1, but anyone hitting the ‘Add to betslip’ button below can receive a boosted quote of 8/1 on all three notching victories.
The rationale for including Liverpool and Spurs is pretty straightforward – they are both strong odds-on favourites, after all – but there are plenty of reasons to believe United can get the job done as well.
Both managers are set to ring the changes and a look at the respective potential starting line-ups suggests that this could play into United’s hands as they have far more depth than the Blues, particularly in midfield and up front.
Javier Hernandez, who scored the controversial winner in Sunday’s meeting, may be paired with Danny Welbeck in attack, while any four (or five) of Ryan Giggs, Anderson, Paul Scholes, Nani, Darren Fletcher and the fit-again Ashley Young could feature in the middle of the park.
The options available to Sir Alex Ferguson in these departments look far superior to those of opposite number Roberto di Matteo, whose squad is already heavily depleted by injuries and suspensions, even before rotation is taken into account.
Oriol Romeu and, possibly, John Obi Mikel (who, of course, has accused Clattenburg of using racist and/or inappropriate language) are unlikely to win the midfield battle against such an experienced Red Devils back-up cast and that could prove telling.
But regardless of how the matches pan out, the 8/1 shout on a United, Liverpool and Spurs treble must surely be worth a speculative punt.