Carabao Cup: Quarter-final preview and predictions

The domestic cup action just keeps on rolling for English football supporters as the Carabao Cup quarter-finals dominate the midweek scheduling.

The FA Cup third round delivered some vintage magic at the weekend, but the competition’s little brother will now steal the limelight as eight teams compete for a spot in the Carabao Cup semi-finals.

Four quarter-final ties are being played over the coming days and here’s 90min’s preview of each of them.

Manchester United vs Charlton

The Addicks are the lone underdogs in the competition after they dumped Brighton out in the fourth round on penalties. Dean Holden’s reign as Charlton boss has got off to a bright enough start, but this is a mammoth test.

Erik ten Hag’s Red Devils have hit their stride after Christmas and they sauntered into the quarter-finals with a 2-0 win over Championship high-flyers Burnley.

This is a great opportunity for Ten Hag to claim some silverware during his first season at Old Trafford, but he might rest a few key names for this cup tie with the Manchester Derby upcoming. Even so, the hosts will surely have too much for the inferior visitors on Tuesday night.

Prediction: Manchester United 2-0 Charlton

Newcastle vs Leicester

Leicester recently felt the wrath of Eddie Howe’s Magpies as they were beaten 3-0 by the Tynesiders on Boxing Day.

Newcastle bullied the Foxes the last time they met, and their momentum in the Premier League has failed to waver since. However, they were beaten for the first time since August at the weekend as Sheffield Wednesday knocked them out of the FA Cup, while Leicester squeaked past Gillingham to progress into the fourth round.

Both teams will be expected to name strong starting XI’s for this cup tie after a number of first team stars were rested at the weekend. It’s hard to envisage Leicester getting thumped again, but a buoyant St. James Park will be key in ensuring Newcastle get over the line on Tuesday.

Prediction: Newcastle 2-1 Leicester

Nottingham Forest vs Wolves

A rotated Nottingham Forest XI was humiliated at Blackpool on Saturday, and Steve Cooper will be keen to ensure he doesn’t suffer back-to-back cup exits.

Forest have already beaten Tottenham to reach the quarter-finals, but Julen Lopetegui’s Wolves are proving to be stern opposition following the Spaniard’s arrival. They’re slowly improving in the final third, and Matheus Cunha is in contention to make his first start for the club on Wednesday night.

The City Ground will be rocking for this cup tie, and it’s hard to split the two sides. Thus, it may take penalties to decide the victor with the technically proficient visitors prevailing in the shootout.

Prediction: Nottingham Forest 1-1 Wolves (Wolves win on penalties)

Southampton vs Manchester City

The pressure is already mounting on Ralph Hasenhuttl’s successor, Nathan Jones, on the South Coast, but the Saints did advance into the FA Cup fourth round at Crystal Palace’s expense at the weekend.

Perhaps that cup triumph will ignite Jones’ reign, but the ultimate test awaits Southampton on Wednesday.

Manchester City have been nothing short of dominant in the Carabao Cup since Pep Guardiola’s arrival and the Cityzens are desperate to recapture their crown after it fell into Liverpool’s hands last season.

Hasenhuttl’s Saints often gave City plenty to think about, but it’s hard to envisage Jones’ iteration giving the visitors much to consider. Guardiola’s side purred at the Etihad on Sunday, and they should win comfortably here.

Prediction: Southampton 0-3 Manchester City