Michael’s League Cup Second Round Preview9 min read
The Premier League sides not involved in European competition enter the League Cup midweek at the second-round stage. These are my predictions and tips for all the big games, exclusively for BetVictor.
Crewe Alexandra v Aston Villa
Villa gained their first win of the campaign against Everton on Friday and I would be surprised if they weren’t able to follow up against Crewe at the Alexandra Stadium.
The Railwaymen have made a decent start to their League two campaign, but they lost at Newport at the weekend and Dean Smith will have a number of squad players looking for the opportunity to impress.
Tip: Villa to win and both teams to score
Nottingham Forest v Derby County
Forest gained a tremendous win at Craven Cottage at the weekend and have made a good start to their Championship campaign, but I can’t split the teams when their big East Midland rivals Derby County make the short journey down the A52.
The Rams have not yet recaptured the form that took them to the play-off final at Wembley last season, but any Championship side would miss the skills of Mason Mount and Harry Wilson who scored sensational goals in the Premier League at the weekend.
Tip: Game to finish 1-1
Sheffield United v Blackburn Rovers
The Blades were outclassed by Leicester City at Bramall Lane on Saturday, but I expect them to bounce back against a Blackburn side who are unbeaten in their last four and won at Hull in their last away game in the Championship.
Tip: Sheffield United
Bristol Rovers v Brighton
Bristol Rovers have won their last three home games in all competitions and have only conceded once in their last five games so things won’t be easy for Graham Potters’ side at the Memorial Stadium.
The Seagulls lost their south coast derby to Southampton at the weekend but played much of the game with 10-men. I expect them to bounce back against their League One opponents, but it promises to be a very tight encounter.
Tip: Brighton to win
Crawley v Norwich
Crawley currently sit mid-table in League Two, but they have conceded twice in their last five games and I would be surprised if Norwich didn’t have too much quality for the Red Devils.
The Canaries played their part in a cracking game at Carrow Road against Chelsea on Saturday and I would be surprised if Daniel Farke’s side didn’t possess too much quality for Gabriele Cioffi’s side.
Tip: Norwich -1 on the handicap
Crystal Palace v Colchester United
Palace rode their luck but gained a famous win at Old Trafford on Saturday – a result I believe can kick-start their season.
League Two Colchester gained a valuable first league win of the season against Northampton at the weekend, but I expect the Eagles to make it safely through to the 3rd Round.
Tip: Palace to win to nil
Fulham v Southampton
Fulham lost at home to Forest on Saturday, but I think they can return to winning ways at the expense of a Southampton side who gained their first win of the campaign at the Amex at the weekend.
Ralph Hasenhuttl will have been delighted with the impact from the bench of Moussa Djenepo at the Amex and the Mali international looks an exciting recruit to the Premier League. That said the Cottagers have made a good start to life back in the Championship and I think Scott Parker’s side can edge what promises to be a hugely entertaining clash.
Tip: Fulham to win
Newport v West Ham
West Ham were too good for Watford on Saturday and I don’t think there will be a shock at Rodney Parade.
Newport are unbeaten in League Two so far this season, but the Hammers’ look to have goals in their ranks this season with record-signing Sebastien Haller impressing at Vicarage Road at the weekend.
Tip: West Ham -1 on the handicap
Watford v Coventry
Watford have made a disappointing start to the season, but they are taken to gain their first win of the campaign against the Sky Blues who are unbeaten in League One and one of five clubs at the top-of-the-table with 11 points.
The Hornets finished last season disappointingly and have carried those results over to the new campaign. Javi Gracia’s side badly need a confidence restoring win.
Tip: Watford to win to nil
Burnley v Sunderland
Burnley were disappointed to come away from Molineux with just a point on Sunday and the Clarets are taken to make serene progress into round three against the Black Cats for whom promotion must be their primary objective this term.
Tip: Burnley to lead halftime/fulltime
Lincoln City v Everton
Everton have only had six shots on target in their three Premier League games to date and they have looked devoid of the necessary creativity to make a serious challenge for a top-six finish.
That said this looks an ideal opportunity for Marco Silva to start summer recruits Moise Kean and Alex Iwobi and the pair will start against Wolves at the weekend if they impress against an Imps side who have goals in their ranks.
Tip: Everton to win and both teams to score
Newcastle United v Leicester City
A fantastic result for United at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday and Steve Bruce deserves great credit for setting his side up in such a way that Spurs huffed and puffed but had very few goalscoring opportunities.
Leicester took all three points at Bramall Lane on Saturday and I can’t choose a winner at St James’ Park. Both sides are likely to make changes although perhaps not too many as this competition, arguably, represents their best opportunity of silverware.
Tip: Game to finish in a draw
Michael’s midweek treble: West Ham, Burnley and Crystal Palace