Arsene Wenger is apparently lifting his youth player policy for this cup run in an attempt to finally end Arsenal's seven year trophy drought, while Paul Lambert returns to Carrow Road for the first time since he left the club.
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There are eight teams left with a shot at the Capital One Cup, formerly the English League Cup. Chelsea and Arsenal are the big names, but neutrals and supporters of the other six clubs are no doubt hoping they have better things to do and we are left with a potentially entertaining story as this cup tournament roles on. Then again, Arsenal having a chance to actually win a trophy could be considered a potentially entertaining story.
Bradford City vs. Arsenal (BeIN Sport 1 (U.S.)/Sky Sports 1 (U.K.))
The pressure is firmly planted on Arsenal's shoulders in this match. The Gunners haven't won a trophy of any significance since the 2005 FA Cup, so while the league cup may not be as flashy as some other options, it's still a legitimate piece of silverware. Arsene Wenger is actually going to lift his usual policy of playing youth players in this tournament as the Gunners go all out to finally win something.
The most interesting storyline in this match won't be anything on the field. Well, by the time the match finally kicks-off attention will turn to that, but in the run up and during the pre-match pomp and circumstance, you can be sure that Norwich supporters will have plenty to say to Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert. Lambert left the Canaries under somewhat acrimonious circumstances at the end of last season and there's a good chance the fans will let him hear it for the decision. As for the match, it's not exactly the most exciting offering though Norwich are certainly the team in better form at the moment.
Swansea City vs. Middlesborough
Tony Mowbry's Middlesbrough side know it's a long shot for them to defeat Swansea. Fortunately for them, cup competitions are made for long shots. Swansea are slumping a bit at the moment and will be without several players due to injury, including first choice goalkeeper Michael Vorm. Then again, Middlesbrough have injuries of their own and a massive league game against Wolves on the weekend to worry about.
Now you're probably saying to yourself, why are there are only three quarterfinal matches? Shouldn't there be a fourth? Very astute of you and there's a good reason why there are only three this week. Chelsea will face Leeds United in the fourth quarterfinal match, however the Blues are participating in the Club World Cup this week and so the match has been pushed back to December 19th.