Manchester United v West Ham
Man Utd rode their luck at the weekend against West Ham as Jesse Lingard struck late on before Mark Noble missed a penalty moments after being introduced. That comes off the back of a disappointing result in Europe against Young Boys, though the three points were all important as they seek to re-establish some momentum.
Both managers could well ring the changes here given their busy schedules owing to their involvement in Europe this season. For Man Utd, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is expected to hand rests to Portuguese duo Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes amongst others, but while has a range of options in attack, a likely centre-back pairing of Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof doesn’t inspire total confidence.
David Moyes will have Michael Antonio will return from suspension here, while goalkeeper Alphonse Areola looks set to make his debut. Elsewhere, either Mark Noble or summer signing Alex Kral could come into the line-up for one of Declan Rice or Tomas Soucek, with the pair looking a bit leggy in the second half at the weekend.
Man Utd have won all four clashes with West Ham since the start of last season when including extra time, but they’ve typically been tight affairs. However, with a weakened defensive line-up for the hosts, both sides will fancy their chances of registering on the scoreboard, with both teams netting in 13 of Man Utd’s last 14 competitive matches, as well as 11 of West Ham’s last 15 domestic encounters.
BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE
Chelsea v Aston Villa
Villa may have dominated League Two outfit Barrow 6-0 in the previous round, but they’ve lost both trips to Premier League sides Watford ad Chelsea so far, conceding three times on both occasions. A 3-0 win to end Everton’s unbeaten start to the season last time out came at a price as well, with summer signing Leon Bailey and full-backs Matt Target and Matt Cash pulling up with minor muscle injuries, while John McGinn suffered a concussion.
Dean Smith does have some depth available to him with the money received for Jack Grealish used well, so Bertrand Traore and Emi Buendia should come into the team here, though he probably needs his side at full-strength to stand a decent chance against the motoring Blues. Thomas Tuchel will undoubtedly ring the changes, but with Edouard Mendy and Christian Pulisic the only slight injury doubts, he’ll have a strong team on display even if his main stars get the night off.
The only goals Chelsea have conceded this season have come in the UEFA Super Cup against Villarreal and when playing Liverpool with 10 men, but they remain unbeaten and have won without conceding in five of their last six. Villa won’t be without attacking threat, but Tuchel appears more than capable of making his team a solid unit regardless of the personnel.
CHELSEA TO WIN
Arsenal v Wimbledon
After a dreadful start to the season, Arsenal are finally stringing together a few results with victory in three of their past four outings. Admittedly, this spell included a 5-0 hammering at the hands of Man City, while the wins came over West Brom, Norwich and Burnley. Still, although those last two were only beaten by 1-0 scorelines, Championship side West Brom were put to the sword 6-0 and Mikel Arteta should expect his team to outperform a third-tier outfit.
Whereas Wimbledon have a clean bill of health, Arteta will be without the suspended Granit Xhaka, while Kieran Tierney and Mohamed Elneny are expected to miss out. Bernd Leno should expect to get a chance in goal having fallen behind summer recruit Aaron Ramsdale, but the squad is deep enough that any absentees shouldn’t prevent the Gunners from advancing to the next round.
Wimbledon are going strong this season with just two defeats from 11 appearances, though did fail to score in both of those losses, with one of them coming in their most recent outing against Plymouth. Given Arsenal have won their four domestic cup matches against lower-league teams since 2019/20 by a combined 14-0, with three of these coming under Arteta, they should keep their clean sheet intact.
ARSENAL TO WIN TO NIL
Millwall v Leicester
Leicester are in need of picking up with just one victory from their past five fixtures, with that an unconvincing display over struggling Norwich. They were hampered by a first-half red card when going down 4-1 to West Ham, though were already a goal down in that clash, while their last three fixtures have seen them beaten by Man City and Brighton domestically, as well as throwing away a two-goal lead to draw with Napoli in Europe.
Although the attack isn’t at it’s clinical best, it’s in defence where Brendan Rodgers will be most concerned at the moment. They’ve now conceded 10 times across their past five fixtures as they’ve failed to register a clean sheet, while there remain selection issues for Rodgers to ponder. Defensive trio James Justin, Wesley Fofana and Jonny Evans are all expected to miss out again, while Caglar Soyuncu hasn’t started the season in the best form of his career for club or country.
Millwall aren’t without any absentees of their own as Dan McNamara, Benik Afobe and Shaun Henderson are sidelined, though they have now strung together a five-game unbeaten streak. They’ve been consistently finding the net as both teams have scored in all but one of their 10 fixtures this season, and should put up a decent fight on home turf.
BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE
Wolves v Tottenham
Tottenham come into this fixture with back-to-back 3-0 defeats in the Premier League against Crystal Palace and Chelsea, sandwiching a disappointing 2-2 stalemate in Europe with Rennes. However, it’s not all doom and gloom with all four of their victories this season accompanied by clean sheets, and a trip to Nuno Espirito Santo’s former club represents a welcome opportunity to get back on track.
Wolves are hardly in good shape themselves and after consecutive seventh-placed finishes on their return to the Premier League, last term they produced a bottom-half finish. So far this season, they’ve only amassed two wins, with those coming over Nottingham Forrest in the previous round of this cup and over promoted outfit Watford in the league. They’ve lost their other four appearances by 1-0 or 2-0 scorelines, with Leicester, Tottenham, Man Utd and Brentford all shutting out their attack.
Raul Jimenez was a key component of Wolves’ previous success but the Mexican striker has looked a shadow of his former self since returning from injury, and with Pedro Neto currently sidelined, Bruno Lage’s attack is a little on the thin side. Although Nuno Espirito Santo may switch his line-up around a little, Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn are the Tottenham boss’ only injury doubts, so should have a reasonably strong team on display as he seeks to rebuild some momentum.
SPURS DOUBLE CHANCE
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