The EFL Cup has moved into the business-end of the competition, where the battle is going to be intense, and a small mistake here or there could lead to a team's exit. Top clubs from the Premier League and the other divisions will battle it out for a place in the last eight of the competition; hence one can expect some close contest with eight matches set to be played on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Here is a look at the top five things to watch out for in the next two days
Guardiola vs Mourinho Part II
As soon as the EFL Cup prequarterfinals fixtures were rolled out, Manchester United vs Manchester City clash bagged headlines. They are two of the greatest teams in the Premier League, and what makes this contest even more fascinating, besides being a derby, is the presence of two great managers, Pep Guardiola (City) and Jose Mourinho (United), who have a strong rivalry. The two have already clashed against one another in the league, with Pep having the final laugh as his team beat United 2-1. Now, the focus is on Guardiola vs Mourinho Part II. The former Real Madrid manager must have already chalked out plans to defeat City, and reach the next round.
Will Arsenal be able to break down another ten-man defence?
Arsenal, when they are on top of their game, the beautiful game looks even sexy. Arsenal's style of play is similar to that of Barcelona, entertaining fans around the world. When the Gunners take on Reading, it is not going to be an easy task with the visitors expected to play with a defensive set up. It is at this juncture where skilled players like Theo Walcott, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil will need to showcase their trickery and open up Reading's defence. If they crack the code, Arsenal should have it their way into the quarterfinals.
Can Conte's Chelsea manage clean sheet?
Chelsea have a brilliant manager in the form of Antonio Conte, who has helped the Blues to five straight wins in the Premier League. They have not conceded a single goal in their last four matches, but their defensive record in the EFL Cup has not been great. They have already conceded four goals in the competition, and when they come up against West Ham in the prequarterfinals, the Chelsea defenders will need to fully concentrate on the game. Chelsea are favourites for the clash, but with West Ham possessing players like Dimitri Payet and Simone Zaza, the Blues cannot afford to allow empty spaces for the duo to work around with.
Jurgen Klopp might ring changes for Spurs game
Liverpool manager Klopp has always played with a strong team, irrespective of the competition and the team. But, this time around, though they are set to face a strong team in the form of Tottenham Hotspur, the German might decide to rest some regular starters and gives the likes of Danny Ings, Alberto Moreno, Daniel Sturridge a chance to shine. However, Klopp is not someone, who will give chances to players at the expense of the team, so the German will still have a strong team as he understands the importance of EFL Cup. This is only possible with the strong squad Liverpool have put up for the season.
Rafa and Newcastle United look to continue their winning run
Newcastle United should consider themselves fortunate as they did not meet any of the top sides remaining in the competition. They should be pleased to face Preston North End, who are ninth in the Championship, and Rafa Benitez's men are top of the table. With comfortable victories in their last few EFL Cup matches and five wins on a trot in the Championship, Newcastle come into this game confident, and have it in them to reach the quarterfinals of the competition.