By Josh Powell | Capital One Cup
The League Cup is back, and while top flight managers everywhere give game time to serial bench warmers, a coupon-busting 18 matches gives punters a great chance to make some midweek profit, and a decent excuse to hit the pub on a school night.
There are plenty of lower league sides looking to cause an upset, and football pundits up and down the country have their ‘magic of the cup’ spiel memorised. Here are the key stats on three of the more noteworthy games to help you avoid a disappointing Tuesday night in front of the box watching Celebrity Big Brother.
- Notts County haven’t beaten Liverpool in the last 12 head-to-heads. Their last victory was in March 1956 in the old Division Two
- In 31 matches at Anfield, Notts County have won just twice, in February 1902 and March 1902. Liverpool have won 24 and drawn five of the 31 meetings on Merseyside
- In the last ten matches against County, Liverpool have kept clean sheets in seven of them. The Reds have kept 11 clean sheets in 2013, second in the top flight only to Manchester City who have racked up 12
- Liverpool haven’t won at home in the League Cup since September 23 2008. In three games at Anfield since, they have lost to Swansea and drawn with Man City and Northampton
- County have won just two games away from home in 2013
Brendan Rodgers is keeping his mysterious envelopes close to his chest, but with Manchester United coming to Anfield on Sunday, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him ring the changes. Even with a few forgotten faces making the starting team, Liverpool are bankers at 1/6 and punters seeking out the value would be best looking at the Reds to win to nil at 4/5 or Liverpool to win both halves at evens.
- West Brom have kept just five clean sheets in 22 League Cup games since 2004. They have conceded 33 goals, at an average of 1.5 a game
- Newport have lost just three games from 17 away from home in all competitions in 2013
- In three of West Brom’s last four Second Round games they have scored four goals. These all came against lower league opposition (Yeovil, Bournemouth, Rotherham)
- The Baggies have failed to score in four of their last five games and managed just three shots on target in their two Premier League games this season.
- Of their last 11 league games, West Brom have won just the one – 3-0 away to Southampton on April 27
West Brom are 57 places higher than Newport in the footballing ladder but that gap might not be as evident as the Baggies’ odds of 1/4 suggest. Newport will be confident of upsetting Steve Clarke’s men and WBA are hard to consider as bankers after a toothless start to the season. The game to be level after 30 minutes at 10/11 or Newport +2 on the handicap at evens might be the most appealing punts.
- Norwich have won just one of the last six meetings with Bury
- The last four times Bury have visited Carrow Road, the game has ended all square
- Bury have won just three League Cup games in the last ten years, conceding 22 goals and failing to win on the road
- Norwich have been eliminated in this round of the competition in three of the last four years
- Bury have lost seven of their last nine League Cup matches against opponents from a higher division.
Watching Norwich on Saturday was about as thrilling as watching Mark Lawrenson comb his moustache, but they should still be too good for Bury at 3/10. The Canaries have plenty of blemishes on their League Cup record but should comfortably make the third round tonight. It’s hard to know who Chris Hughton will play up front but Gary Hooper (13/5) and Johan Elmander (7/2) both appeal as first goalscorers if they make the first XI.