AFL betting (round 5 for April 25): Bombers, Magpies bring indifferent form to ANZAC Day blockbuster
The 2017 ANZAC Day clash might not have the expectations of recent...
Game: EFL Cup Final – Manchester United v Southampton
Where: Wembley Stadium, London
When: Monday, February 27, 3.30am (AEDT)
Prices: United $1.75, Southampton $5.50, DRAW $3.50
Confirmed bets: Manchester United WIN (1.5 units @ $1.80), Zlatan Ibrahimovic to score anytime (one unit @ $2.25)
TIW says: It’s a competition that has witnessed plenty of name changes since being first played in 1960, but the League Cup (now known as the EFL Cup) remains a prized piece of silverware for most English clubs. Like the FA Cup, it is played as a knockout tournament between the 20 Premier League clubs, and the 72 clubs of The Football League. The winners qualify for the UEFA Europa League, unless they have qualified for the Champions League through their league position, in which case the Europa League berth goes to the highest-placed team from the Premier League not already qualified for Europe. The reigning champions are Manchester City, who defeated Liverpool on penalties in the 2016 final.
Although the League Cup is one of the three major domestic trophies, it’s viewed by some of the bigger clubs as a lower priority than the league championship, UEFA Champions League, and the FA Cup. A new champion will be crowned today at Wembley as four-time winners Manchester United host a Southampton side chasing their first piece of silverware since defeating the Red Devils for the FA Cup in 1976. The Saints had by far a tougher road to the final, defeating four EPL opponents (Crystal Palace, Sunderland, Arsenal and Liverpool). United defeated Northampton in the third round before wins over Manchester City and West Ham United and a 3-2 victory across two legs in their semi-final tie with Hull City.
United attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan will miss the game after injuring a hamstring during Wednesday’s 1-0 Europa League win at Saint-Etienne. Midfielder Michael Carrick is fit despite injuring a calf in France, while a late decision will be made on defender Phil Jones, who has a foot problem. United captain Wayne Rooney, who had been linked with a move to China, will be involved, manager Jose Mourinho (aiming to add to the three League Cups he won at Chelsea) said. Mourinho has never lost an English domestic cup final in his career, also winning the FA Cup in 2007. Only Liverpool (12) have appeared in more League Cup finals than United (nine). Zlatan Ibrahimovic (pictured above) scored four goals in the four domestic cup finals he played for Paris Saint-Germain.
Southampton hope playmaker Sofiane Boufal will return from an ankle injury. Charlie Austin, Virgil van Dijk, Jeremy Pied, Matt Targett and Alex McCarthy all have long-term injuries. Martin Caceres could make his debut for Southampton. The 29-year-old former Barcelona and Juventus defender joined the club last week and impressed boss Claude Puel during a training camp in Spain. This will be Southampton’s first trip to Wembley since winning the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final against Carlisle in 2010. The Saints lost their previous League Cup final against Nottingham Forest in 1979. Southampton are just the second side in League Cup history to reach the final without conceding a goal (Spurs managed this feat in 1981-82, then lost the final 3-1 to Liverpool).
• Selections are listed in three categories – 1) Suggested (likely bet but yet to be finalised); 2) Confirmed (locked in at the price listed); and 3) Leans (tips, but not recommended bets); all times quoted are Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT); prices with thanks to Bet365 (except where markets are not available), correct at time of publication. Results/comments on today’s games/races will follow in the next post.