A cup competition provides teams a couple of paths – the big ones, a balm to soothe their English Premier League how-did-that-happen losses; the smaller teams an opportunity to create a momentous upset.
The League Cup third round comes into play on Tuesday and Wednesday, and with 16 matches to be played, expect some cupsets.
Tuesday is a warm-up day for the Capital One cup third round action, with only Manchester City, the really "big" team playing. The likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham play on Wednesday, with a few mouth-watering clashes coming to the fore, none more so than the north London derby.
White Hart Lane will be buzzing on Wednesday night for the match between Spurs and Arsenal. Tottenham reached the final of the Capital One Cup last season, before losing to Chelsea, while the Gunners were sent packing in the third round by Southampton.
Arsene Wenger has enough problems already to deal with, what with the team losing their last two games, in controversial circumstances, and the last thing the manager will want is another disappointing result.
Spurs have picked up three wins in a row in all competitions, and will go into this match as the team in better form, but the formbook, as we all know, vanishes into thin air in such big derbies, and they don't make them too many bigger than the one in north London.
Liverpool will want to get their season back on track when they play Carlisle United – a loss to the League Two side and Brendan Rodgers' time might just be up.
Manchester United also have a winnable match, with Louis Van Gaal's men hosting Championship club Ipswich Town, while defending champions Chelsea have an away trip to League One side Walsall.
Tuesday will witness Manchester City travelling to the Stadium of Light to face their sometimes-bogey team Sunderland, while another intriguing all-Premier League clash is the one between two teams who have made flying starts to their league season -- Leicester City and West Ham.
The Second City Derby – Aston Villa vs Birmingham City – at Villa Park should also be a pretty tasty affair.
League Cup Schedule: Third round (7.45 pm BST, 12.15 am IST, 3.45 pm ET unless stated): Tuesday: Middlesbrough vs Wolverhampton Wanderers
Fulham vs Stoke City
Hull City vs Swansea City
Leicester City vs West Ham United
Preston vs Bournemouth
Reading vs Everton (8 pm BST, 12.30 am IST, 3 pm ET)
Sunderland vs Manchester City
Aston Villa vs Birmingham City
Wednesday: Liverpool vs Carlisle (8 pm BST, 12.30 am IST, 3 pm ET)
Manchester United vs Ipswich Town (8 pm BST, 12.30 am IST, 3 pm ET)
Tottenham vs Arsenal
Walsall vs Chelsea
MK Dons vs Southampton
Norwich vs West Bromwich Albion
Newcastle United vs Sheffield Wednesday
Crystal Palace vs Charlton.