Manchester City’s hopes of winning another EFL Cup were given a huge boost on Wednesday as three major rivals crashed out of the competition.
The Premier League champions eliminated Chelsea at the Etihad in their third-round tie, with goals from Riyad Mahrez and Julian Alvarez securing a 2-0 victory for Pep Guardiola’s men. Meanwhile, Arsenal were soundly beaten 3-1 by Brighton & Hove Albion at the Emirates and Tottenham Hotspur were eliminated by Nottingham Forest.
The exit of three of the country’s top sides should be seen as a major positive to City, with a club outside of the ‘top six’ last winning the EFL Cup in 2013, when Swansea City lifted the trophy at Wembley. Another major rival may still drop out of the competition at the third-round stage, with Manchester United hosting Aston Villa on Thursday night.
The draw for the next round will be held after the match at Old Trafford, with City and current champions Liverpool securely in the draw, although Jurgen Klopp’s men scraped through to the next round after a victory via penalties over League One side Derby County.
Asked about so many of the Premier League’s top sides being eliminated, Guardiola responded wryly: “We will be champions already.” Other dangerous opponents in the hat for the next round include Brighton, Newcastle United and Leicester City, along with fellow Premier League clubs Forest, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Southampton.
The fourth-round fixtures will be the first club matches played after the World Cup break, with the games set to be played on the week commencing 19 December.