Outright market suggest London derby for Capital One Cup final
Following the draw for the two-legged Capital One Cup semi-finals, it will come as no surprise to punters too learn Coral make Chelsea odds-on 5/6 favourites to lift the trophy.
Jose Mourinho has been drawn to face former protege Brendan Rodgers, with Liverpool (4/1 third-favourites) hosting first and the decisive leg to follow at Stamford Bridge.
This hotly competitive semi-final has extra spice following Kop idol and Reds captain Steven Gerrard’s costly slip during a Premier League meeting last term in the spring. The wide perception is that legendary clubman Gerrard’s error cost Liverpool the title, as Demba Ba scored against the run of play at Anfield.
Prior to their latest renewal, which will see the aggregate winner book a place at Wembley, both Chelsea and the Merseyside outfit will have other cup assignments, against lower league opposition.
The Blues battle Championship promotion hopefuls Watford, while Liverpool face fourth-tier team AFC Wimbledon in the FA Cup. It means both teams will have seven matches across all competitions in January, before they resume their respective European campaigns in February.
Fixture congestion could also be a problem for Capital One Cup second-favourites Spurs (5/2), who face 25/1 rank outsiders Sheffield United. The calendar year of 2014 saw the Blades, who hail from League One’s promotion race, take Premier League scalps aplenty in major domestic cup competitions.
Full backs Kyle Naughton and Kyle Walker face reunions with the club where it all began, having both started their careers in the academy of the Steel City side. They will be plotting the downfall of United, who have only lost to Hull City, in FA and League Cup action over the last 12 months.
While we all love an underdog story, and this is the time of year when we talk about the romance of the cup, a London derby does look likely.
Chelsea beware, though, as the last time they tackled Tottenham in a League Cup final, they lost in extra time with Jonathan Woodgate’s header proving the difference.