Capital One Cup, Fourth round preview: The lesser North-East derby, and Manchester United and Chelsea ride again

Shaun Botterill

It's the fourth round of the Capital One Cup, and there are a couple of fixtures which stand out from the rest.

All times 7:45pm local, 2:45pm ET unless stated.


Leeds United vs. Southampton

Leeds have only won one of their last five games in the Championship, but after knocking out Everton in the last round, they will feel more than capable of knocking out another Premier League team when they face Southampton at Elland Road.

Reading vs. Arsenal (BeIN Sport 1 (U.S.)/Sky Sports 2(U.K.))

How seriously Arsene Wenger takes this competition remains to be seen, so Reading may fancy that their home advantage gives them a good chance against Arsenal, particularly if they field a weakened squad. Brian McDermott managed to guide reading to victory over Liverpool in this competition while they were still in the Championship, and he'll be hoping to repeat that again this season.

Sunderland vs. Middlesbrough

It's the lesser-spotted North-East derby, the Wear-Tees showdown. Middlesbrough have been inconsistent for the whole season, but as the cliché goes, it's a derby, so anything could happen, particularly against a Sunderland that are struggling for goals.

Swindon Town vs. Aston Villa

This would ordinarily be the game to miss at all costs, with a mediocre League One side facing a pretty dull Premier League side that will almost certainly rest a lot of players. On the other hand, Paolo Di Canio is Swindon's manager, and there's never a dull moment with him around. The biggest upset potential lies here.

Wigan Athletic vs. Bradford City

Wigan are a decent side, and entertaining enough to watch, but it would be a major surprise if they did anything other than cruise past an average League Two side in Bradford City. It'll probably be a walkover for Roberto Martinez's boys, and with a rested squad at that.


Chelsea vs. Manchester United (beIN Sport 1 (U.S.), Sky Sports 1 (U.K.))

They played on Sunday, and now they'll play again just three days later. Expect both sides to rest quite a lot of players and a selection of the vast array of youth talent possessed by both sides to get a run-out. Neither team will be too concerned about the result, so it should be an entertaining game.

Norwich City vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Norwich have been much-improved in their last two games, so it would be no surprise to see Chris Hughton opt to field a team without too many changes in a bid to keep the Canaries' momentum going. It'll be a tough game for Spurs, particularly as their injury problems leave them without too much room to rotate their squad.

Liverpool vs. Swansea City (8 pm local, 3 pm ET)

Brendan Rodgers faces his former club once more, though with contrasting fortunes, as Liverpool's performances steadily improve while Michael Laudrup's side are struggling for form. Despite that, Liverpool may be reluctant to risk their key players such as Luis Suarez and Joe Allen with so little margin for injury in their squad, and given their record in this competition at Anfield in recent years, Swansea should be in with more than a shout.

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