5 Carabao Cup talking points as clubs chase semi-final spots

PA Sport staff
·3-min read

Holders Manchester City face Arsenal and Everton host Manchester United in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup this week.

There are also home ties for Championship sides Brentford, who entertain Newcastle, and Stoke, who welcome Jose Mourinho and Tottenham.

Here, the PA News agency looks at some of the talking points ahead of the last-eight fixtures on Tuesday and Wednesday.

City can go fourth

Christmas Package 2020
A familiar sight as City celebrate winning the Carabao Cup (Mike Egerton/PA)

Manchester City have created plenty of history under Pep Guardiola but are closing in on another slice in the Carabao Cup. Last season they lifted the trophy for the third consecutive year. Now they are three matches away from a four-timer, which will match the achievement of Liverpool in the 1980s. A distinctly below-par Arsenal are their quarter-final opponents.

Art failure?

Everton v Arsenal – Premier League – Goodison Park
Mikel Arteta is under pressure (Peter Powell/PA)

The clash against his former mentor Guardiola means Mikel Arteta can at least take a breather from Arsenal’s dismal league form. The Gunners may have coasted into the last eight and through their Europa League group, but Saturday’s defeat at Everton leaves them languishing in 15th place in the Premier League table – the club’s worst start to a top-flight season since 1974-75, with Arteta facing questions over both his own future and the direction of the team.

Toffees’ trophy drought

The League Cup is a notable absentee from Everton’s trophy cabinet. The blue half of Merseyside have twice reached the final, in 1977 and 1984, but have never won it. Toffees fans may see this season as the chance to lay that ghost to rest, and pick up a first piece of silverware since the FA Cup in 1995. Five-time winners Manchester United stand in their way.

Bees target another scalp

Newcastle laboured to a 1-1 draw against 10-man Fulham at the weekend, and considering Manchester City, Liverpool and Leicester are their next three league opponents, a midweek trip to Championship Brentford looks more of a nuisance than an occasion to be relished. The Bees have already knocked out Southampton, West Brom and Fulham and will fancy their chances of a fourth top-flight scalp.

The ultimate test of mettle

Stoke City v AFC Bournemouth – Premier League – The Bet365 Stadium
Abandon hope, all ye who enter (Nigel French/PA)

It’s the trip that sorts the men from the boys, the snazzy foreign types from the no-nonsense British bulldogs. Can you do it on a cold Wednesday night in Stoke? That’s the prospect facing Tottenham as they look to reach the last four. This may not by a Tony Pulis-vintage Stoke, but Michael O’Neill has them playing some nice football and handily placed in the Championship. It will certainly be a stern test for Kane, Son, Bale and Co.