Who will win the EFL Cup?
Frank Monkhouse | 24 January 2017
We look at what positives can be taken from the last four
The four remaining sides in this season’s EFL Cup battle it out in midweek for a place at Wembley’s grand final on Sunday 26th February. There’s still plenty of value around for punters shrewd enough to pick the winner at this stage, and we run through each side’s claims.
Manchester United – Fergie Backs Mourinho
Jose Mourinho’s side have been chalked up as the most-likely winners of this year’s title, and rightly so as they already have one foot on the Wembley turf. Goals from Mata and Fellaini gave the Red Devils a 2-0 first-leg lead over Hull at Old Trafford and if they match The Tigers on Thursday, then half the job will be done.
United go into Thursday’s clash unbeaten in 17 games and legend of the club, Sir Alex Ferguson, came out in support of what Mourinho is achieving at his former club. It couldn’t have been easy for Mr Man Utd himself to credit old rival Mourinho, but the Scotsman told fans The Special One is doing a great job and they are unlucky not to be challenging for the league. A glowing reference indeed. Punters in agreement who fancy United to go and lift the trophy for the fifth time in their history can back them outright at 7/10 with us.
Liverpool – History backs Reds
Next in the betting comes Liverpool, second-favourites, despite ranking as the tournament’s most-successful club in history with eight winners’ medals. The Reds came agonisingly close to adding number nine last year when losing in the final to Man City on penalties. Jurgen Klopp will want to get things right this time.
Liverpool still have it all to do to reach Wembley however, and they go into Wednesday’s second-leg tussle with Southampton at Anfield trailing 1-0 on aggregate. Nathan Redmond slotted home on 20-minutes for what turned out to be the match-winner, but it’s far from the tie-winner, and the Saints haven’t set Liverpool an impossible task. In front of their own fans, Liverpool will be confident of getting to the final and then using their history in the competition to get through. 11/5 stands as the current offer on Klopp and co.
Southampton – Head-to-head backs Saints
Southampton have never won this cup, but they did make the final back in 1979 and will be aiming to at least replicate that this term. They hold that 1-0 first-leg win over Liverpool and now travel to an opponent who are winless in their last three league starts, drawing with Sunderland and Manchester United, before losing to Swansea 3-2 at the weekend in front of their own fans.
Claude Puel’s side can take heart from recently meetings between themselves and semi-final opponents Liverpool, as they haven’t lost vs The Reds since December 2015. Two wins and a draw suggests that the underdogs have every chance of claiming a place at Wembley. If they then meet Man Utd in the final, they’ll have a go too, having beaten United 1-0 in half of their last four meetings. Southampton at 4/1 is the call.
Hull – Recent home form backs Hull
If you want to have a go on Hull pulling off the great escape before going on to kiss the silver, then our football guys will award your bravery with a big boy 80/1. That is a fair enough call, all things considered, and Hull fans may just fancy an interest.
The Tigers haven’t been given a chance at home to United in the second-leg, and recent history between these sides shows that to be a fair assessment. Hull haven’t beaten United since 1974, and haven’t even scored a goal against them in four. New manager Marco Silva has put a bit of swagger back into the side however and they smashed Bournemouth 3-1 at the KCOM earlier this month. The locals are unbeaten at home in three, winning their last pair by two clear goals. They have a massive job in front of them, but no one can be completely written off in his competition.