Capital One Cup returns with some mouth watering fixtures

The romance of the Cup was supposed to have gone the way of bobbies on the beat and sherbet dabs, but Bradford City showed that it was still alive and kissing when getting to Wembley last May and you wouldn’t bet your house against another big shock or three in this week’s third round Capital One Cup ties.

But where to look? Well why not start with one of the original League Cup giant-killers, Swindon Town. Back in 1969, when languishing in the old Third Division, the Robins were led by striker Don Rogers to a famous 3-1 victory under the Twin Towers over the mighty Arsenal in front of more than 98.000 gobsmacked fans.

Now, 44 years on, Swindon are back in the third tier and facing another game they have no right to win – this time against Chelsea, 4/11 to progress at the County Ground tonight and 5/1 joint favourites to win the Cup outright.

These Cup games are easier to predict once the team line-ups are known, but one would imagine that Jose Mourinho won’t be fielding his very best side and Swindon players and fans will certainly believe they have a fighting chance of springing a big surprise.

They certainly know how to score on their own patch: 11 goals from their opening four home games, including three in a five-goal thriller against Bristol City last Saturday. It’s a long shot – 7/1 with Coral – but much stranger things have happened in this competition down the years.

Bristol City (7/1) have themselves a tough assignment on paper away at Southampton (4/11) and it will be a real feather in the cap of the Division One strugglers if they could get something out of a team on such a high following their weekend away victory at Liverpool.

Sunderland (8/13) are in such disarray that it would not be considered too much of a shock if Peterborough (9/2), riding high in Division One and full of confidence, turned them over at the Stadium of Light.

The winners of the Aston Villa-Spurs tie will fancy their chances of an extended Cup run. Villa (12/5) are shaping like a side looking forwards rather than over their shoulders this season, while Spurs (11/10) have a strong enough squad to fight on all fronts should they negotiate this tricky visit to the midlands.

Manchester City (2/7), the other 5/1 joint-favourites to win outright, are given the chance of some revenge over Wigan Athletic, who of course beat them in last season’s FA Cup Final. The City players look in a much better frame of mind now and it really will be a shock if the Championship side (9/1) can repeat the deed.

Written by Jon Freeman