By Josph Layele
The 64th edition of the Carabao Cup got underway on August 8, and we’re now into the fourth round, (round of 16). After the Community Shield won by Arsenal on August 6, the Carabao Cup will be the first domestic trophy of the 2023/24 and the final will take place on Sunday, February 25, 2024 at Wembley Stadium in London. Manchester United are the defending champion of the trophy after defeating Newcastle United in the 2023 final. The two last season’s finalists will meet again, but in the round of 16 after being drawn against one another. In addition to silverware, the winner of the Carabao Cup earned a place in the 2024/25 UEFA Conference League playoffs with a chance to qualify for the group stage of that European cup competition.
WHY IS IT CALLED CARABAO CUP?
This knockout tournament has historically been called the League Cup or EFL Cup of the Carling Cup organized by the English Football League (EFL). The EFL in the past incorporated each of the top four divisions of English football before the formation of the Premier League in 1992/93. Today, the EFL is comprised of the second-tier championship, third-tier League One, and fourth-tier League Two. But the Premier League clubs are still invited to participate in the League Cup (EFL Cup) every season.
Beginning in the 1990s, corporations began paying to attach their name to this tournament and the sponsor names caught on for brief periods when it was known as the Coca-Cola Cup, the Worthington’s Cup, and the Carling Cup. The latest sponsor is Thai energy drink company Carabao, which bought the title rights of the knockout tournament beginning with the 2017/18 edition, leading to the use of the Carabao Cup moniker that is popularly used today.
NOW HOW DOES THE CARABAO CUP WORK IN 2023/24?
The EFL Cup (Carabao Cup for sponsorship reasons) features all 92 participating clubs from the top four tiers of English football: Premier League (20 clubs), Championship (24 clubs), League One (24), and League Two (24). The 12 Premier League clubs not in any European cup competitions joined in the second round, and the remaining eight sides joining in the third round. Every round is single-elimination except for the semifinals, which are played over two legs. There is no extra time up to and including the quarter-finals with matches going straight to penalties if the score is level after 90 minutes.
However, extra time will be in effect for the semifinal second legs (no away goals tiebreaker) and the final, if necessary. Carabao Cup: Third Round In the Third Round, the eight Premier League clubs involved in European competition joined the 24 teams advancing from the opening round, and there were some shock upsetting results. Championship high-flyers Ipswich Town produced an upset to beat Premier League Wolves 3-2 at home, particularly as Ipswich had fallen two goals behind within 15 minutes. In the major upset on the first night of the third round, Premier League strugglers Luton Town lost 1-0 at third-tier Exeter City.
Manchester United convincingly beat fellow premier league team Crystal Palace 3-0. While Newcastle United also dumped out Champions League current holder Manchester City by a solitary goal scored by Isak. Chelsea managed to beat hot form Brighton and Hove Albion by a lone goal scored in the early second half by Nicolas Jackson and ease pressure on their manager Mauricio Pochettino. Liverpool came from one goal down to beat Leicester City 3-1 Arsenal scramble a 1-0 win against Brentford City with keeper Ramsdale saving their blotches. While Premier league struggler Everton beat Aston villa at the Villa park 1-2 by making it two wins in a row.
TUESDAY, SEPT. 26
Bradford City (L2) 0-2 Middlesbrough (Ch)
Exeter City (L1) 1-0 Luton Town (PL)
Ipswich Town (Ch) 3-2 Wolves (PL)
Mansfield Town (L2) 2-2 Peterborough United (L1)
Mansfield advance 3-1 on penalties Port Vale (L1) 2-1 Sutton (L2)
Salford City (L2) 0-4 Burnley (PL)
Manchester United (PL) 3-0 Crystal Palace (PL)
WED, SEP. 27
Aston Villa (PL) 1-2 Everton Blackburn Rovers (Ch)
5-2 Cardiff City (Ch) Bournemouth 2-0 Stoke City (Ch)
Brentford (PL) 0-1 Arsenal (PL)
Chelsea (PL) 1-0 Brighton & Hove Albion Fulham (PL)
2-1 Norwich City (Ch) Lincoln City (L1)
0-1 West Ham (PL) Liverpool (PL)
3-1 Leicester City (Ch) Newcastle United (PL)
1-0 Manchester City (PL)
CARABAO CUP ROUND OF 16 DRAW AND FIXTURES
EFL League Two side Mansfield Town are the lowest-ranked team left in the competition, and they have been drawn against League One team Port Vale with defending champions Manchester United paired with Newcastle United.
Mansfield Town (L2) vs. Port Vale (L1)
Ipswich Town (Ch) vs. Fulham (PL)
Man United (PL) vs. Newcastle United (PL)
Bournemouth (PL) vs. Liverpool (PL)
Chelsea (PL) vs. Blackburn Rovers (Ch)
West Ham (PL) vs. Arsenal (PL)
Everton (PL) vs. Burnley (PL)
Exeter City (L1) vs. Middlesbrough (Ch)
The Star match for the round of 16 Carabao Cup fixture is Manchester United vs. Newcastle United. A rematch of the last season Carabao Cup final. Newcastle will be gunning for revenge after losing the final to Manchester United last season. Watch out for another interesting fixture between the London rival Westham United vs. Arsenal. The winners of this round will move on to the quarter final.
Who are you tipping to win the Carabao Cup this season?