24 October 2006

Carling Cup Round 3

The third round of the Carling Cup is this week, with the majority of games taking place today.

24 October 2006
Chesterfield v West Ham (live on Setanta Sports; 2:30pm eastern)
Leeds v Southend
Leicester v Aston Villa
Notts County v Southampton
Port Vale v Norwich City
Sheffield Utd v Birmingham
Watford v Hull City
West Brom v Arsenal
Wycombe v Doncaster
Everton v Luton Town

25 October 2006
Crewe Alexandria v Man Utd (live on Setanta Sports; 2pm eastern)
MK Dons v Tottenham
Newcastle v Portsmouth
Blackburn v Chelsea
Charlton v Bolton
Liverpool v Reading

There's more than a couple interesting ties, which is unusual this early in the tournament. We have 4 matches between Premier League teams, all taking place Wednesday, with the pick of the litter being Chelsea at Blackburn. This might be the toughest test Mourinho has faced in the early rounds of a domestic cup competition, and it'll be interesting to see how Chelsea reacts.

There are also decent games between PL and Championship sides today. Martin O'Neill returns to Leicester, where he got his start in management, with unbeaten Aston Villa. Not only is this game appealing because of O'Neill's Leicester connections, but Villa has frequently underperformed in tournaments as of late. I know nearly all of the past can be tied to David O'Leary, and that's a valid excuse, but Villa was made to work at Scunthorpe in the 2nd round this season as well. Everton should also be given a decent challenge by Luton Town. Luton gave Liverpool a serious run in the FA Cup last year, with Liverpool needing 4 goals in the second half to advance, and despite losing players, Mike Newell continues to improve that team.

Arsenal at West Brom and Birmingham at Sheffield United should also be compelling fixtures.

A full preview of the Liverpool/Reading match will be up this evening.

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