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Outstanding Football In Store In EFL Cup Quarterfinals

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The EFL Cup takes centre stage this midweek with the quarterfinals. Somehow, and perhaps surprisingly, League One side Charlton Athletic have made it here after upsetting Brighton on penalties in the previous stage.

Manchester City have won four of the last five titles. And after defeating Chelsea and Liverpool this season, it is difficult to put it past Pep Guardiola’s men. The Catalan manager loves to win every game and every title available.

And yet, their neighbours, Manchester United, will be desperate to lift this title. If anything, Erik Ten Hag, who has impressed so far at Old Trafford, will point to a League Cup win as a step in the right direction.

These quarterfinal matches will be hotly contested. In effect, there will be plenty of excitement and drama.

Manchester United vs Charlton

After a torrid start to his Manchester United career, Ten Hag has not just steadied the ship or made progress; he is carving a path to being a legend. He is on his way to etching himself in the minds of United’s faithful.

Even more, the players are buying into his ideas and vision. Marcus Rashford looks reborn. Aaron Wan-Bissaka is showing other sides to his game. And now, the Red Devils have won five straight matches in all competitions.

Ten Hag will be desperate for a title in his first season

Following the manager’s strong line-up against Everton in last weekend’s FA Cup match, it is fair to expect a similar team against Charlton.

The five-time winners will go gung-ho from the start, aiming to unsettle their opponents with an early goal.

In recent weeks, everything good in the attack has come through Rashford. The Englishman will desire the ball to create and score goals. Christian Eriksen’s quick passing and vision will also prove pivotal, especially in the absence of Bruno Fernandes.

Charlton will know how big a hurdle this is. Yet, qualifying for the semi-finals for the first time ever is a huge motivation.

The objective for Dean Holden will be to deny the opposition space in the final third. Of course, they will sit deep in numbers, hoping to break quickly.

Manchester United will likely earn an easy win against this struggling League One team.

Newcastle vs Leicester City

Newcastle have been the revelation of the season in the Premier League. Eddie Howe has overseen a remarkable transformation that sees them right in the mix for a Champions League spot. 

However, going into this tasty fixture against the Foxes, Howe will be keen to arrest any form of complacency. The Magpies exited the FA Cup courtesy of a 2-1 loss to Sheffield Wednesday.

Miguel Almiron and Bruno Guimaraes have been the catalysts for the team’s success, especially offensively. Howe will task them with the responsibility of finding spaces and creating chances for Chris Wood. 

This encounter will be keenly contested

Leicester City, on the other hand, have been horrible since the restart of competitive football, losing their three league matches. Worse still, they have scored just once in that time.

Brendan Rodgers is under immense pressure to get his team out of this mess. A loss to Newcastle could spell doom. 

Patson Daka is back from injury and should lead the line alongside Kelechi Iheanacho. Wilfred Ndidi will have a lot on his plate in regaining possession in midfield.

Newcastle will be confident of getting the desired result, but if Leicester City find their rhythm, this could be an end-to-end affair.

Nottingham Forest vs Wolves

Nottingham Forest have enjoyed some measure of success in their bid for Premier League survival since the restart. Taiwo Awoniyi has been important to everything they have achieved.

But having lost to Blackpool in the FA Cup third round, Steven Cooper will be desperate to avoid a repeat of last Saturday’s result.

Against a Wolves team that has become more free-flowing since the appointment of Julen Lopetegui, Cooper’s men will need to be even more compact.

Wolves cannot afford complacency against Forest

Willy Bolly will have his work cut out for him against the likes of Adama Traore, Goncalo Guedes, and Matheus Cunha.

In offense, Forest’s hopes rest on Taiwo Awoniyi, who has been excellent since his rival. He will need to put himself about, trying to ruffle the likes of Max Kilman. Brennan Johnson’s pace will also count for plenty.

Wolves will take pleasure from their match against Liverpool, which they could have won but for some controversial decisions. Lopetegui will require his charges to pass and move quickly in the opponent’s final third.

This encounter has the makings of a goal-fest.

Southampton vs Manchester City

Southampton face a tough contest against Manchester City for a semi-final spot. Still, Nathan Jones will hope that his positive results in the Cup competitions can somehow continue against the Cityzens.

The Saints will need to be compact in defence to avoid losing heavily, especially after seeing how City outclassed Chelsea in last Sunday’s FA Cup.

James Ward-Prowse remains one of the side’s shining lights, especially during set pieces. The 28-year-old will hope to get on the ball more and find spaces in between Pep Guardiola’s defence, who are likely to play a high line in defence.

City will have their sights on reclaiming the title

Che has found good luck against this opponent in recent seasons. He will hope to get decent chances to score.

Manchester City are favourites to win this comfortably. Riyad Mahrez has been outstanding since the start of the year. He will likely get the nod to start alongside Jack Grealish.

Calvin Phillips might get a rare start in midfield, and should be ably assisted by Ilkay Gundogan. The latter’s late runs into the box may prove to be the difference. Kevin de Bruyne will also look to take up interesting positions, hoping to hurt Southampton with his incisive passing.

Guardiola will be keen to win back the EFL Cup after failing to win it for the first time in four seasons. This should be an easy victory.