It is obvious that many English teams still view the EFL Cup as a very important trophy. This season, Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool have all proven this point by fielding strong squads in the competition.
A decade ago, this was a competition that was used by managers to give minutes to their fringe players. However, as Manchester United prepares to face Everton in the EFL Cup quarter-final on Wednesday, there is no doubt that both clubs have their sights set on winning the trophy.
For the Red Devils, the competition is their most realistic chance of winning silverware this season. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side has managed to turn their fortunes around following a poor start to the season.
Manchester United will face tougher opposition in other competitions
Aside from being relegated from the Champions League to the Europa League, the Reds have been in imperious form in the Premier League. They currently sit in third place in the league table.
The Premier League, though, will be very difficult to win, with Liverpool leading the pack and showing no signs of slowing down. Meanwhile, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Tottenham and other top clubs will also be huge threats to Manchester United’s ambitions of winning the Europa League.
The FA Cup is another trophy that will be tough to compete in, considering the competition’s reputation for huge surprises. However, in the EFL Cup, the Red Devils have the perfect opportunity to end their three-year wait for a major title.
Ahead of the game against Everton, Solskjaer lauded the decision to push the EFL Cup final to April in the hope that fans will be allowed back into stadiums by then.
“It’s probably the best decision for the two teams that get to the final, but for me, now I don’t think that far ahead,” the Norwegian told Manunited.com.
The Manchester United boss is, however, aware that the Toffees will be no pushovers.
“We’ve just got to go one game at a time, and now it’s the quarters and we’ve got a chance to get into the semis. Then again, we’ve got a big league run coming up too. But all eyes are on this one and we’ll pick a team that we think is fresh and ready for this game," said Solskjaer.
Manchester City and Brentford have already booked their places in the semi-finals of the EFL Cup and Manchester United can do the same if they beat Everton.
It is clear that this season’s EFL Cup will be keenly contested but Manchester United’s form should see them go past Everton. Should they manage to do so, their target would be to win the trophy, as it is the club’s most realistic chance of winning something this season.Published 23 Dec 2020, 21:47 IST