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In The Mixer: Experts pick their Carabao Cup outright winner
Aaron Rogan
Aaron Rogan
December 21, 2021
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Before becoming a Sports Journalist for Free Super Tips, Aaron spent three years studying Sports Journalism at the University of Sunderland while taking in the Black Cats' 'glory years' under Martin O'Neill. Now back in Northern Ireland he turns niche stats into predictions for FST, while he's one of the few people on this island who is equally comfortable at Windsor Park and the Aviva.

In The Mixer is FST’s weekly column where we catch up with seven experts in football betting and get their opinion on the hot topic of the week.

With the Carabao Cup quarter-finals set to take place this week, there are eight sides fighting for the first silverware of the season. Holders Man City have lost their grip on the trophy, with Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal the frontrunners to win it with the bookies.

However, where does the value lie in the outright betting? This week our experts pick out their favourite outright option to lift the trophy.

Silverware for Arteta?

James Milton

Sports journalist at Racing Post

Arsenal have enjoyed a lovely draw during this season’s EFL Cup and, having won nine of their last ten home games in all competitions (seven of them to nil), they are unlikely to slip up against League One visitors Sunderland in the quarter-finals.

They look the obvious choice for punters looking to oppose Chelsea and Liverpool in the outright betting but West Ham could be worth a small bet at around 7-1. 

David Moyes would love to land some silverware for the Hammers, who have knocked both Manchester clubs out of this competition, beaten Chelsea and Liverpool in the Premier League, and travel to Covid-hit Tottenham in the last eight.

Steve Palmer

Sports journalist at Racing Post

The Carabao Cup is clearly wide open at the quarter-final stage – and it is difficult to be bullish about any side’s chances – but Arsenal arguably deserve to be a shorter price than they are. The general 4-1 seems more than fair.

Arsenal have by far the easiest quarter-final fixture of the lot – and can be expected to make short work of Sunderland at the Emirates – and the hunger of Mikel Arteta for silverware has to be factored into calculations.

Arteta has won an FA Cup as Arsenal manager, but his abilities for the job have been called into question many times. A Caribao Cup victory will be a small fillip in his quest to prove the doubters wrong, so expect strong line-ups and motivation.

Chelsea could come unstuck at Brentford, while Liverpool have had a hectic recent schedule and could throw in a flat performance against Leicester.

Joe Champion

Sports journalist at Racing Post

I have my reservations about Arsenal when it comes to facing the top teams but the Gunners should make the semi-finals at the expense of League One Sunderland and it’s no certainty that Chelsea and Liverpool will be joining them in the last four.

The Blues have dropped their level recently, are fighting on several fronts, and face a tough test at Brentford while the same is also true of Liverpool, who have tended to rotate in this competition and are unlikely to be at full-strength against dangerous Leicester.

If one or both fall, this looks a decent opportunity for Mikel Arteta to secure more silverware as Arsenal boss having won the FA Cup in 2019-20. That’s reflected in a relatively short price but the Gunners look more likely than most to give you a run for your money.

Jack Ogalbe

Sports journalist at ICS

Manchester City’s good turn in giving someone else a chance in the Carabao Cup has opened up the competition and the side that knocked them out in October’s dramatic penalty shootout, West Ham, rightly have to be considered candidates to fill the void.

The Hammers have also seen off the challenge of Manchester United this season but a busy opening half of 2021-22 seems to be catching up with them, while, in contrast, London rivals Arsenal, are flying.

Mikel Arteta had to fend off criticism in the early part of the campaign but his side are now purring and they have a kind draw in the quarter-finals, facing League One Sunderland on Tuesday.

You have to go back to 1992-93 for the last time Arsenal triumphed in this competition but like other clubs before them, winning the first trophy of the season could prove the perfect stepping stone to bigger things.

Could Conte change Spurs’ fortunes?

Tom Hill

Sports journalist at ICS

Chelsea and Liverpool are unlikely to field strong starting XI’s during the competition, and as a result, they look a little short in the betting.

Arsenal have every chance of lifting the trophy, but Tottenham look like dark horses under Antonio Conte.

Spurs might have a tricky quarter-final fixture against West Ham to navigate, but the Hammers have struggled for the last few weeks. Conte knows what it takes to reach a final in England, having led Chelsea to two FA Cup finals.

The Italian needs to lay down a marker for next season, where he hopes Spurs can compete in Europe, and he has a decent squad at his disposal to try and land the first trophy of the campaign.

Aaron Rogan

Sports journalist at Free Super Tips

With every side struggling with absences ahead of a (hopefully) busy Christmas period, I don’t expect to see strong sides from most teams in the Carabao Cup this week. That puts me off the short priced trio of Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal.

This could be an opening for Antonio Conte to bring silverware to Tottenham, especially after he twice led Chelsea to the FA Cup final in his two years at Stamford Bridge. Spurs are meeting West Ham at the right time with the Hammers looking below par, so I’m backing Conte to seize a chance to win a trophy early in his reign.

Or will West Ham shock Spurs?

Chris Rivers

It’s kind of Manchester City to lend out the Carabao Cup and the competition looks very open without them in the field. With due respect to Sunderland, Arsenal have the easiest route through to the semi-finals and 4-1 for them to claim a second piece of silverware under Mikel Arteta is tempting. 

However, they haven’t proven themselves against a top side as yet and that would be an area of concern if they drew Chelsea or Liverpool in the next round.

West Ham do have that pedigree of rising to the occasion against the Premer League’s big boys, beating Chelsea and Liverpool at home in the league this year, while they’ve already dumped out Man City and United. At 7-1, their price is far more appealing, despite a tricky quarter-final tie at Tottenham.

Aaron Ashley

Sports journalist at Racing Post

The shock exit of EFL Cup specialists Manchester City has left the door wide open for one of Chelsea, Liverpool or Arsenal, and the Gunners are going to have their backers having been drawn against Sunderland in the quarter-finals.

But Arsenal have plenty to prove against the Premier League’s elite and at some point you’d think they’d have to play a big gun, so at 8-1 I’d take a chance on City’s conquerors West Ham.

The Hammers also dumped out Manchester United in an earlier round and have recorded Premier League wins over Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham this season.

They take on Spurs again in the last eight, but Antonio Conte’s men haven’t played much football of late so are entitled to be a little rusty after their recent Covid-19 outbreak.

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