The big boys enter the Carabao Cup in the third round this week and there are a number of tasty looking ties on Tuesday as holders Man City begin their trophy defence and the fierce south coast rivalry between Portsmouth and Southampton returns for the first time in seven years.
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Tuesday's Carabao Cup fixtures
Portsmouth v Southampton
7.45pm | Sky Sports Football
We'll start with the big one, and it is a big one whenever these two sides meet, but especially so when it's in front of the TV cameras after a seven-year hiatus as the two old rivals headed off in different directions. Pompey's financial problems have seen them slip down into League One while Southampton occupy a spot in the Premier League.
Even League One has proved tough going for Kenny Jackett's side this season with just one win in seven, and although they'll no doubt be fired up for this there's an obvious gap in quality that should be evident if Ralph Hasenhuttl picks anything near a strong side.
The derby aspect of the game surely means the Saints boss wouldn't dare field an under-strength side and face the prospect of losing to their fierce, but underdog, rivals. A best price of 3/4 on a Saints win isn't bad when you consider the type of player that will be on show against a vastly inferior opposition.
Saints have been sloppy at the back though, never more so than in their defeat against Bournemouth last time out, and in a hostile atmosphere there's enough to suggest Pompey can get a goal at least - but that's as much as they'll muster.
Sheffield Wednesday v Everton
It's got 'upset alert' written all over it given the slump Everton seem to be in after their bitterly disappointing home loss to Sheffield United - now they face the blue half of the Steel City in what should be a tough away assignment. The Toffees have been travel sick of late as well with just one win league win in eight on the road, with their only success coming in the last round of this competition at Lincoln.
The League Cup hasn't been kind to Everton either, as they've lost five of their last seven third-round ties but, before we get too carried away, consider Wednesday's record is even worse with the Owls reaching the fourth round just once in last 17 seasons.
As always, team selection is key to this and Wednesday's home form has been so-so with two wins, one defeat and a draw in the league. Everton have an obvious quality advantage, but wholesale changes often make for disjointed performances - as illustrated perfectly at Lincoln when they had to come from behind - and the extra menace Wednesday can offer means they wouldn't be able to get away that sloppiness a second time.
At the prices, the Owls could be worth taking a chance on.
Arsenal v Nottingham Forest
Unai Emery went relatively strong in this competition last season and he should do similar this year, especially with a tough test against a Forest side who have lost just once this season. The Gunners are traditionally hard to beat in the early rounds and have all fallen at this first hurdle once in 16 years.
As Aston Villa, and Watford, showed, Arsenal are still having defensive problems regardless of who they play against, and it'd be no real surprise to see Forest being able to grab a goal, or even two, given the chances Emery's defence has been coughing up to all comers this season.
That said, Arsenal should be too good going forward for Championship opposition and there's the potential for this to be a decent game with plenty of goals, one which the home side win.
Odds correct as of 1537 on 23/09/19
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