Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

League Cup gets serious in England, Scotland and France

Posted in European Football, UK Football by peterbein on September 20, 2010
Manchester United

Manchester United won their fourth League Cup last season

The League Cup sometimes gets a bad press but, if anything, it can usually provide more shocks and more thrilling football than its more glamourous counterpart. This is certainly the case in the English version which has been won by Manchester United in each of the last two seasons. The competition is also taken seriously in Scotland despite the winners not being rewarded with a European place but it still gives a chance for smaller teams to win something ahead of the Old Firm. The French Coupe de la Ligue is now in its 17th season and is a tournament that rivals the Coupe de France for intrigue and occasion. All three tournaments have reached the third round stage and Stoppage Time – International Football Blog previews the action.

ENGLAND

Manchester United are hoping to win this tournament for a third consecutive time, a feat which hasn’t been done since Liverpool completed a four in a row from 1981-84. They, along with all of the English teams involved in European competition, enter the competition at the third round stage and for the Red Devils it’s expected to be a procession through to the next round with a game away at Championship (2nd tier) side Scunthorpe United. The tie of the round, without any doubt, is the North London derby between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC with Gunners coach Arsène Wenger expected to play a youthful team whilst Spurs boss Harry Redknapp has a bigger squad to choose from. Including the Spurs v Arsenal game there are six all-Premier League ties in this round including Newcastle United’s visit to Premier League champions Chelsea FC, Aston Villa meet Blackburn Rovers and Manchester City playing away at West Bromwich Albion whilst. In the “potential banana skin” stakes the biggest upset would c0me at Anfield if record seven time holders Liverpool FC were to be knocked out by League Two (4th tier) outfit Northampton Town. Here is the full third round draw below:

ENGLISH LEAGUE CUP 3RD ROUND DRAW

Aston Villa v Blackburn Rovers

Birmingham City v Milton Keynes Dons

Brentford v Everton FC

Burnley v Bolton Wanderers

Chelsea FC v Newcastle United

Liverpool FC v Northampton Town

Millwall v Ipswich Town

Peterborough United v Swansea City

Portsmouth v Leicester City

Scunthorpe United v Manchester United

Stoke City v Fulham FC

Sunderland v West Ham United

Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal FC

West Bromwich Albion v Manchester City

Wigan Athletic v Preston North End

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Notts County

Glasgow Rangers

Glasgow Rangers won the CIS Scottish League Cup last season

SCOTLAND

Glasgow Rangers extended their record in this competition to 26 title wins in 2009-10 with a last-gasp 84th minute winner from Kenny Miller to give the Gers a 1-0 win over St Mirren. The cup holders are expected to go through to the next stage having got a home tie against Dunfermline Athletic whilst for Old Firm rivals Glasgow Celtic it’s the potential reliving of a nightmare in their home tie against Inverness Caledonian Thistle. A Scottish Cup match involving the same two sides in the 1999-2000 season saw the now famous newspaper headline “Super Caley Go Ballistic Celtic Are Atrocious” after the Hoops lost 3-1 at home to Caley which ended up being the last game in John Barnes’ short reign at the club. Another top tie in this round is the repeat of last season’s Scottish Cup final between Ross County and Dundee United (click on the Away Days section to read Stoppage Time’s report from that match) in which the home side from the tiny village of Dingwall in the Scottish Highlands will hope to gain revenge on the Arabs for ruining their cup dreams at the end of last season. Here is the draw in full:

SCOTTISH LEAGUE CUP 3RD ROUND DRAW

Aberdeen FC v Raith Rovers

Brechin FC v Motherwell FC

Falkirk v Heart of Midlothian

Glasgow Celtic v Inverness Caledonian Thistle

Glasgow Rangers v Dunfermline Athletic

Kilmarnock v Hibernian FC

Ross County v Dundee United

St Johnstone v Queen of the South

FRANCE

Unlike in England and Scotland the French League Cup doesn’t include those teams that have qualified for European competition until the fourth round stage but that shouldn’t detract from what is still an interesting draw. Girondins de Bordeaux, last season’s losing finalists and joint record title holders having won it three times, enter the competition at this stage with a tricky tie away at AS Nancy who will hope to repeat their 2006 triumph in this tournament. Current league leaders Saint-Étienne have never won this competition and will hope to go one step closer to a maiden triumph against the team who lost to AS Nancy in the 2006 final, namely OGC Nice. AS Monaco, winners in 2003, have a home tie against two-time winners RC Lens whilst the fixture with the most potential for an upset involves Nîmes Olympique, 15th in Ligue 2, taking on Valenciennes who, although lie in 14th in Ligue 1, are just a mere six points behind league leaders Saint-Étienne. Here is the full draw:

COUPE DE LA LIGUE 3RD ROUND DRAW

AC Ajaccio v Le Havre

Arles-Avignon v Caen

Boulogne v Toulouse

En Avant de Guingamp v Stade Rennais

Lorient v Stade Brestois

AS Monaco v RC Lens

AS Nancy v Girondins de Bordeaux

Nîmes Olympique v Valenciennes

Saint-Étienne v OGC Nice

Sochaux-Montbéliard v SC Bastia

Olympique Marseille

Olympique Marseille beat Girondins Bordeaux to lift the 2010 Coupe de la Ligue

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