Monday, 9 January 2017

Two Teams Clear Favourites to Reach EFL Cup Final

Manchester United are not having the best of times this season. The Red Devils are sixth in the Premier League table at the moment, with 21 points from 14 matches, nine points behind fourth-placed Manchester City.
With leaders Chelsea 13 points clear of United, Jose Mourinho’s side’s chances of winning the Premier League title this season looks slim.
United, though, do have a great chance of winning a major trophy this season, as they have reached the last four of the EFL Cup. The Red Devils will face fellow Premier League outfit Hull City in the semi-finals, the first leg of which will be held at Old Trafford.
In the latest bet365 EFL Cup betting odds, Mourinho’s side are backed at 6/5 to win the competition formerly known as the League Cup.
United have won the League Cup four times - in 1992, 2006, 2009 and 2010. In 1992, they drew with Middlesbrough away from home in the first leg and won the second leg 2-1 at Old Trafford.
In 2006, the Red Devils drew 1-1 with Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park in the first leg of their semi-final tie before winning 2-1 at home in the second leg.
United actually lost the first leg of the semi-final tie against Derby County away from home in 2009 but came back to get the better of the Rams 4-2 at Old Trafford in the second leg. A year later, Manchester City defeated United 2-1 in the first leg on 2010, but the Red Devils won 3-1 at Old Trafford in the return leg.
United clearly have not fared well in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final ties in the year in which they have won it. However, it is hard to see the Manchester club struggle against Hull at Old Trafford in the first leg in January.  The Tigers, whose odds of clinching the EFL Cup are 14/1, are second from bottom in the Premier League table at the moment and have already conceded 29 goals in the league.
Mourinho’s side should be able to get the job done in the first leg, and then they should face Liverpool in the final.
Liverpool will face Southampton in the semi-finals of the EFL Cup this season, the first leg of which will be played at St. Mary’s Stadium.
The Reds have a very strong record in the League Cup, having won the competition a record eight times - in 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1995, 2001, 2003 and 2012.
The Merseyside outfit, who are second favourites to win the competition this season with odds of 6/4, lost to Manchester City after extra time in the final during the 2015-16 campaign.
2012 was the last time Liverpool won the League Cup. Back then, they beat City 1-0 in the first leg at the Etihad Stadium and drew 2-2 at Anfield in the second.
Last season, the Reds won the first leg against Stoke City 1-0 away from home but lost the second leg at Anfield 1-0 before going on to win the semi-final tie 6-5 on penalties.
      
                                         

Southampton, whose odds of winning the EFL Cup are 6/1, will fancy their chances given Liverpool’s defensive weakness. Jurgen Klopp’s side have conceded 18 goals in the league already this season.
Given that the Saints are a better team than Hull are, this tie will be more competitive, but Liverpool should still manage to come out on top as they will have home advantage for the second leg.

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