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League Cup – Round of 16 preview

The fourth round of the 2023/24 League Cup is upon us, promising several exciting encounters amongst the midweek fixtures.

Manchester United vs Newcastle United is the standout fixture in the round of 16, but West Ham United vs Arsenal also offers plenty to be excited about.

Read on as we preview the League Cup midweek fixtures, which includes two other all-Premier League encounters.

Mansfield Town vs Port Vale

Mansfield Town edged out Peterborough United on penalties to reach the fourth round for the first time, setting up a meeting with Port Vale at Field Mill.

The Stags are on a remarkable 19-match unbeaten run in League Two and head into Tuesday’s fixture on the back of a 2-1 victory over Walsall, which extended their winning streak to four games on the bounce.

Mansfield will fancy their chances of extending their astonishing run at the expense of a Vale side that has emerged victorious in just one of their last seven outings in all competitions.

The Valiants edged past Sutton United 2-1 in round three, but the odds are stacked against them, considering they have failed to win any of their last three games (D1, L2).

Ipswich Town vs Fulham

Ipswich Town refused to be beaten in round three, mounting an astonishing comeback to thwart Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-2 at Portman Road.

They will undoubtedly be keen on repeating that feat against Fulham, buoyed by their recent five-match unbeaten streak in the Championship (W4, D1).

Following their 1-1 draw against Brighton & Hove Albion at the weekend, Fulham will be eager to return to winning ways when they visit the Championship high-flyers.

The Cottagers have managed just one win in their last four Premier League games but reached the League Cup fourth round courtesy of a 2-1 win over Norwich City.

Manchester United vs Newcastle United

After their 3-0 thumping at the hands of Manchester City on Sunday, Erik ten Hag will expect nothing less than a rousing response when Newcastle visit Old Trafford on Wednesday.

The Red Devils made light work of Crystal Palace in the previous round, running out 3-0 winners, but have won just three of their subsequent six fixtures in all competitions (L3).

Having previously embarked on a three-match winning run, defeat against Man City handed the Red Devils a reality check, but returning to winning ways should be enough to ease the mounting pressure on Ten Hag.

However, Newcastle have repeatedly proven that they are no pushovers, edging Man City in the previous round and will fancy their chances of condemning their Manchester rivals to a similar fate.

Bournemouth vs Liverpool

Since swatting aside Stoke City in the third round, Bournemouth have only picked up one victory in their subsequent four Premier League outings.

They lost three in a row by a combined 9-1 scoreline before finally picking up their first league victory of the season, beating fellow relegation contenders Burnley 2-1 last weekend.

Andoni Iraola will be eager for his side to carry that momentum into the midweek game against Liverpool. But they face a near-insurmountable task, considering the Reds are unbeaten in their last five outings (D1).

Jurgen Klopp’s side have won three games on the bounce heading into Wednesday’s fixture, and success in the League Cup is undoubtedly on their to-do list for the 2023/24 campaign.

Chelsea vs Blackburn Rovers

Chelsea saw their four-match unbeaten run snapped at the weekend following a disheartening 2-0 defeat to Brentford.

Mauricio Pochettino has called for trust and belief from the fans after a woeful start to the season and will be keen to mount a deep run in the League Cup, which represents their best chance of silverware this term.

The Blues edged out Brighton in the previous round, so they will be confident about their chances of seeing off the challenge from Blackburn Rovers.

Blackburn thrashed Cardiff City in round three but head to Stamford Bridge on the back of a 1-0 defeat to Swansea City over the weekend.

West Ham United vs Arsenal

West Ham’s terrific start to the 2023/24 campaign has faded into despair after a four-match winless run across all competitions (D1, L4).

Despite seeing off the challenge from Lincoln City in the third round, there could be more punishment on the horizon for the Hammers as they host Mikel Arteta’s in-form Arsenal side.

The Gunners have suffered defeat only once in all competitions this term and head to London Stadium on the back of a four-match unbeaten streak (W3, D1).

Arteta’s side were forced to earn their place in the fourth round after a slender 1-0 win over Brentford but should extend their eight-match unbeaten run against West Ham (W6, D2) when they face off on Wednesday.

Everton vs Burnley

Since eliminating Aston Villa in the third round, Everton have alternated between defeat and victory in their subsequent four Premier League fixtures.

After an impressive 1-0 victory over West Ham in their last outing, Sean Dyche’s side will be hoping for some semblance of stability when welcoming Burnley to Turf Moor on Wednesday.

Everton are eyeing consecutive wins for only the second time this season against a Burnley side that have suffered defeat in each of their last three outings.

The Clarets flexed their muscles against League Two strugglers Salford City, running out 4-0 winners, but facing a fellow Premier League side for a spot in the last eight will represent a concrete challenge.

Exeter City v Middlesbrough

After edging out Premier League newcomers Luton Town in the previous round, Exeter City face Middlesbrough for a place in the last eight.

The Grecians are winless in each of their seven fixtures in all competitions since eliminating Rob Edwards’ side (D1, L6), making them overwhelming underdogs heading into Tuesday’s showdown.

Middlesbrough saw their seven-match winning streak grind to a halt following a disappointing 2-0 defeat to mid-table counterparts Stoke City last weekend.

However, after dispatching Bradford City in the last round, they will be eager to kickstart another winning run against Exeter and book a place in the next round.

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