Not too far into the Premier League season the EFL Cup, or Carabao Cup to name the sponsor, has arrived to haunt the managers of not-so-deep sides of the English football. The condensed schedule has seen most of the teams play two games in the domestic league, with the next one looming already in the weekend. While the reputation and glamour of the EFL Cup might not be that of, say, the FA Cup, silverware is hard to come by nowadays and managers and club owners alike have come to realize to enjoy the small victories whenever possible. Manchester City has been the hungriest of clubs lately, winning five out of seven last seasons, with three previous ones in a row.
The cup format competition kicked off at the end of August with 92 teams and has now reduced to a 32-team contest, with the rest of the Premier League clubs joining in for the third round. Already five Premier League clubs have been ousted in the previous round, as Wolves got beaten by Stoke, Leeds suffered a defeat against Hull, Southampton was surprised by Brentford and newly relegated Bournemouth got one over Crystal Palace. The Premier League clubs Sheffield United and Burnley went head to head and it was Sean Dyche taking progressing with his team, sending Sheffield packing.
The cup provides many of the EPL teams a great chance to blood some new acquisitions for the first time on English soil as well as provide an opportunity for the youngsters to show what they are capable of. For some teams, running a bit light on rotation, the cup endeavors are nothing but a nuisance. Sending out a reserve team is nothing uncommon, which then provides a good chance for the underdogs to make their dreams come true. Some of the lopsided encounters feature League One side Lincoln hosting reigning EPL champions Liverpool or League Two club Leyton Orient hosting their neighboring Tottenham Hotspur. On the other end of the spectrum, Leicester is facing Arsenal, as the draw is not always fair – even for the big clubs.