Sheffield United vs Derby | Tuesday 24th August 2021, 19:45
Copy and repeat. Sheffield United are in need of a victory here… The Blades were awful last season in the Premier League winning just seven games all season, whilst losing 29. Their pre-season preparations have been heavily impacted due to an outbreak of COVID in the squad and this has now continued into the league campaign with a return of W0-D1-L3 whilst finding the net just once.
This is a squad that is lacking confidence and self-belief after being relegated without much of a fight last season. Manager Slavisa Jokanovic is already coming under pressure as its not only the results but performances that have been well below par.
I would expect a decent line up as the Blades are desperate for a win and need to find a settled side. David McGoldrick, Lee Freeman and Jayden Bogle could come in whilst they may still be a place for the likes for Olly McBurnie, Billy Sharp and Rhian Brewster.
Derby manager Wayne Rooney has already announced big changes for the game. He is having to manage his small squad with the game falling between Championship fixtures against Middlesbrough and a local derby with Nottingham Forest.
Rooney made eight changes for the Rams' first-round tie against League Two opponents Salford with seven of the 10 outfield players on the night were 21 and under and the average age of the team was 22. The starting XI against Salford was: Allsop; Ebosele, Brown, Forsyth, Williams; Hutchinson, Watson; Jozwiak, Morrison, Sibley; Stretton. Most of these players will probably end up playing more with the U23s than the first-team.
I don’t think Rooney or Derby have much interest in the EFL Cup with staying in the Championship the only thing that matters this season. Sheff Utd are in need of a morale boosting win and I think they will get it against a young and inexperienced Rams team. Therefore, I am happy to take Sheff Utd -0.75 Asian Handicap at 16/19 with BetVictor
Newcastle vs Burnley | Tuesday 24th August 2021, 19:45
An all-Premier League clash against two sides that will probably have survival on their minds rather than a run in the EFL Cup. However, Newcastle manager Steve Bruce has again vowed take cups seriously this season and he told the media that he has ‘already decided what we're doing against Burnley'.
There will no doubt be some rotation and I am expecting to see players like Jamal Lewis, Javier Manquillo, Jeff Hendrick and Dwight Gayle to come in, whilst bit part players such as Sean Longstaff, Ryan Fraser and Joelinton should get the nod.
There is always an expectation from the Toon Army that the club progresses in all cup competitions and with the fans back in the ground this will reinforce their desire to do well in this Cup.
Burnley have a number of injury concerns and I believe will play a very weak side here. Ashley Westwood missed the game at the weekend as did striker Matej Vydra, so I will be surprised if Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes are risked here.
Burnley boss Sean Dyche was forced to name two goalkeepers Wayne Hennessey and Will Norris on the bench at Anfield while teenagers Lewis Richardson and Owen Dodgson were also included in the matchday squad, which shows the numbers that they are down too. I really cant see Dyche risking key players.
Burnley have only made the third round of the EFL Cup on four occasions under Dyche, who has prioritised league fixtures since taking charge in 2012. Newcastle with the home ground and with their visitors keen to focus on the league, the hosts should be some value.
Newcastle to win at 6/5 with Betway.