The League Cup is often viewed as some sort of sideshow to the main competitions of the season. However, the competition has gifted us some of this term's greatest contests and we are only at the quarter-final stage. We look forward to the three upcoming ties being played tonight and tomorrow (Chelsea will take on Leeds on 19 December).
Bradford v Arsenal- Phil Parkinson, Bradford's manager, claims he is relishing the occasion- stating it will be a spectacle they "have to enjoy". The home side are expected to start with the same team that beat Torquay at the weekend. Arsene Wenger has promised to field an experienced side, despite his tradition of playing a younger side in this tournament. Bradford City can dare to believe due to Arsenal's lukewarm performance in the Premier League this season. However the League Cup is traditionally Arsenal's tournament- this is their 10th consecutive quarter-final. We will dare to believe though, after all it is Christmas. Prediction: Bradford 3 - 1 Arsenal
Norwich v Aston Villa- The grudge match of the tournament is played out at Carrow Road this evening, as Paul Lambert makes a return to the club he is counter-suing. Both sides have injury worries to deal with; Norwich will miss Alexander Tettey and Ryan Bennett, whist Ron Vlaar and Enda Stevens sit out for Aston Villa. History is on the visitors side- they have won all four previous League Cup ties against The Canaries. Saying that, however, Norwich are definitely then in form team out of the two. There is a history between these two of draws, so we expect a close one. Prediction: Norwich 3 v 2 Aston Villa
Swansea v Middlesbrough- Michael Laudrup's in-form side play host to Championship club Middlesbrough. Despite sitting third in the Championship, Boro's critics are out in force as they have suffered three defeats is their last five matches. Swansea on the other hand, having been impressing again this season with their beautiful attack minded style of play. Boro, however, are a very decent side and Swansea will not be taking them lightly. The welsh club's star signing, Michu, could be the difference in this game. Swansea 2 v 0 Middlesbrough