For the first time in their history, Salford City play a Premier League side in the Carabao Cup
Everton kicked off their Premier League campaign on the right note, with a deserved win at Tottenham last Sunday. On Wednesday, they are expected to continue their winning streak when they face Salford City in the second round of the EFL Cup – known as the Carabao Cup for sponsorship reasons.
The beauty of this annual knockout competition is the unexpected factor – top tier teams are not guaranteed victory when facing teams from the lower leagues, as for most of these, this is the opportunity of a lifetime. Indeed, for Salford City, this is the first ever fixture against a Premier League side, and they will certainly be eager to make a great impression.
On paper, Everton are the stronger side and are expected to win this round two game. During transfer season, coach Carlo Ancelotti was given the financial backing to sign up talents such as James Rodriguez, Allan Marques Loureiro and Abdoulaye Doucore. That investment, of course, comes with strings attached, and the Toffees are expected to improve on their last season, where they finished in 12th place in the league standings – and having had to watch their eternal city rivals Liverpool triumph domestically.
Ancelotti will probably shuffle his starting 11 against the Ammies – also in view of their weekend fixture at West Bromwich Albion. Still, with many first choice players needing match fitness, it wouldn’t be a surprise for the Italian coach to field players like Theo Walcott and Moise Kean against Salford. Whether Everton will field their strongest formation or not, even with reserve changes, they still have enough firepower to see off Salford. History is in their favour, as Everton have never lost any of their previous 18 games against fourth-tier opponents in the EFL Cup.
That said, Salford have made a remarkable rise through the divisions in recent years – progressing from Northern Premier League Division One North to League Two in just five years. This can be explained by the serious backing they have – Salford is co-owned by Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim and Manchester United’s class of 92 – Gary and Phil Neville, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham.
Salford started their campaign with a two-all draw at home to Exeter City – but suffered a humiliating defeat of six-nil against a Manchester United under 21 team in an EFL Trophy game. Still, for Salford, this will be a historic game as it is their first against a Premier League side – and that nothing-to-lose factor shouldn’t be discounted.
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