Watford v Stoke
A solid three points for Watford at the weekend over fellow promoted outfit Norwich has given them a serious confidence boost. It comes after back-to-back defeats against Spurs and Wolves without them getting on the scoreboard and they’ll likely use their latest victory to provide the much-needed momentum for this one.
Stoke have been pretty uninspiring in recent weeks having gone W1-D1-L2 over their last four outings. The last of those came against Derby on the road while they also went down 3-0 at Fulham in their previous trip and you’d have to think that might play against them on Tuesday night.
The Hornets don’t have the best of records in this competition having only once made it past this third round since 2009, but given that came just two seasons ago and they’ve now won two of their three home games in all competitions this term, as each of those came by one-goal margins, that looks the most likely outcome.
WATFORD ONE GOAL WINNING MARGIN
Fulham v Leeds
A 1-1 draw for Leeds against Newcastle at the weekend makes them one of five teams in the Premier League yet to get off the mark with a victory. Usually Marcelo Bielsa doesn’t have too much interest in the cup competitions with him yet to get past this stage of the FA Cup or League Cup from his six attempts, while this will be his first time making a third round match with the Whites in this tournament. However, given their poor form we’d expect him to want to put in a better showing this week in order to give his side a boost.
Fulham, on the other hand, started the season spectacularly. They won five of their opening six unbeaten games in all competitions, but that form has hit a little rough patch with just one win from their last three. Over half their nine matches this term have seen both sides get on the scoreboard and given that has been the case in four of Leeds’s six outings, we fancy that to occur again.
BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE
Norwich v Liverpool
You would expect this to be a routine victory for Liverpool given the disparity in quality between the two sides. Of course, Jurgen Klopp will opt to heavily rotate the side that beat Palace 3-0 at the weekend, but with them high and flying and level on points at with Chelsea and Man Utd at the head of the Premier League table, they shouldn’t have too much trouble against a Norwich outfit propping up the table.
The Canaries’ only victory this term came in a 6-0 thrashing of Bournemouth in this competition, but against England’s top flight opposition they’re yet to earn a single point, scoring just twice from their five such games.
This head-to-head has seen at least three goals in eight of the 10 meetings dating back to the start of 2012, while if you consider the Reds’ last four games in this tournament have seen as many as 24 goals in total, it looks set to be a high scoring encounter. Moreover, only once from Norwich’s six games this term have they seen fewer than three goals.
OVER 2.5 GOALS
Sheffield United v Southampton
You have to admire Southampton this season. Having lost to Everton on the opening weekend of the season, they’ve regrouped and drawn four of their five unbeaten matches since. That includes stalemates against both Manchester clubs, while they took Newport County in the last round of this tournament to the cleaners, winning 8-0.
Sheffield Utd, on the other hand, have had a mixed bag of results, going W4-D3-L3 this season in all competitions. They’ll also be without David McGoldrick, Sanger Berge, Enda Stevens, Lys Mousset and Jack O’Connell, who are all ruled out and that could leave them a little thin on the ground when adding Morgan Gibbs-White and Conor Hourihane to that list due to being ineligible.
The Saints have had it their own way in this head-to-head over the previous two campaigns, winning all four meetings, conceding just once across them. Moreover, given how emphatic they were in victory against League Two outfit Newport County in the last round, we can’t look past the visitors reaching the next stage.
SOUTHAMPTON TO WIN
QPR v Everton
A painful Saturday at the office for QPR saw them fail to make their chances pay against Bristol City, extending their winless run to three matches. That includes a defeat and a draw at Bournemouth and Reading respectively, but they did start the season well. Indeed, four wins from their opening eight outings has proven they can be tough to beat, while both their defeats came by exactly one goal margins.
Everton were cruising under new manager Rafa Benitez up until last weekend. Four wins from their opening five unbeaten matches in all competitions is an impressive output, but a 3-0 defeat to Villa has left some questions to be asked. If anything, it proved their reliance on the likes of Jordan Pickford, Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, firing their first blank of the season in that game.
The Rs have been incredibly tough to beat on home turf dating back to the start of February, going W12-D2-L4 and given each of those defeats ended 1-0, 2-1 or 3-1, that looks the most likely outcome in this one.
The Toffees beat Championship outfit Huddersfield 2-1 on the road in the last round and they just look to have too much quality for their hosts.
EVERTON TO WIN 1-0-2-1 OR 3-1