England’s Football League Cup – which currently bears the moniker Capital One Cup for sponsorship purposes – is set to get underway on August 11, with the majority of the 92 teams playing their first round matches almost simultaneously.
This year, Chelsea look to become the first back-to-back champs since Manchester United in 2009-10. The Blues open as the favorites in the odds, sitting at 5/1 to defend their crown. But Manchester City and Arsenal have also thrown their hats in the ring and follow closely at 6/1 and 7/1, respectively.
Can Chelsea repeat their 2014-15 run, or will another team put their stamp on this year’s edition?
Let’s take a closer look at the favorites and the odds.
2015-16 Capital One Cup Odds:
Chelsea 5/1: The Blues are the defending champions, downing Tottenham (2-0) in last year’s final. With Jose Mourinho as manager, look for the Blues to once again put a lot of energy into winning the Cup. Chelsea have won the Football League Cup (in its various forms) five times, three of which have come with “Mou” on the bench. The Spaniard is fiercely competitive and wants to win every competition his team enters; with a loaded roster once again this season, he will have more than enough tools to lead the Blues to another title.
Man City 6/1: After dropping both the Premier League and the Capital One Cup title to Chelsea last season, Man City will be desperate to bounce back next year. They spent their usual king’s ransom in the offseason acquiring top-level talent (the Citizens recently signed striker Raheem Sterling from Liverpool for $69M) and they’ll need some hardware to show for it.
Arsenal 7/1: The Gunners aren’t quite on the level of Man City or Chelsea. Recognizing that the Premier League title is a longshot, Arsenal may focus heavily on the Capital One Cup in order to keep their fans happy. But the team hasn’t won the tournament since 1993 and manager Arsene Wenger has just three titles to his name since 2004 (two of which were FA Cups).
Man United 8/1: Manchester United won the Capital One Cup in 2009 and 2010, downing Aston Villa in the final in the latter. Since then, the Red Devils have shunned the tournament. But they’re back this year and have dropped the coin necessary to compete with the top teams. The arrival of Memphis Depay should give Man U the playmaking winger they were missing, and adding Bastien Schweinsteiger certainly won’t hurt. All told, United has spent over $300 million since Louis Van Gaal took over as manager, but the Dutchman is still looking for his first trophy with the team. He may have to keep waiting, as it will take some time for the new faces to gel.
Liverpool 10/1: Liverpool last won this tournament in 2012 and, with coach Brendan Rodgers on the hot seat, they may make it one of their main focuses for the upcoming year (like Arsenal) in an effort to quiet the critics. The Reds made a lot of money in the Raheem Sterling transfer. Now, the question is what are they going to do with it? Liverpool are missing a playmaker that can lead the team to the top, and they are aiming for Marco Reus, a German midfielder currently with Borussia Dortmund. But acquiring Reus would break the bank and the Reds brass may not be willing to pay what Borussia is asking.
Tottenham 16/1: Spurs made the final last year, but haven’t won the cup since 2008. They haven’t made splashy signings in offseason but they showed last season that their roster is good enough to conquer all but the upper crust of English football. They don’t have a realistic chance at the EPL crown, but they are a good value bet for the Capital One Cup, where upsets abound.
- Everton 20/1
- Southampton 20/1
- Stoke City 33/1
- Swansea 33/1
- West Ham 33/1
- Newcastle 40/1
- Aston Villa 50/1
- Crystal Palace 50/1
- West Brom 50/1
- Leicester 50/1
- Sunderland 50/1
- Value Bet – Tottenham (16/1)
- Best bet – Chelsea (5/1)
(Photo credit: By CFC Unofficial (Debs) (Chelsea 2 QPR 1) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)