Chelsea remain the biggest club left in the League Cup this season, but face a stern test against Leeds United on Wednesday at Elland Road
|By PAUL GOUGH
Chelsea look a shaky favourite to win both Wednesday's League Cup quarter-final away to old rival Leeds United and the competition itself, in a season in which the big clubs have fallen by the wayside.
Chelsea - the reigning European and FA Cup champions and League Cup winners in 2005 and 2007 - are the last big gun remaining in this year's League Cup [now known as the Capital One Cup] after Arsenal's shock elimination at the hands of League Two side Bradford last Tuesday.
This quarter-final was delayed for a week because of Chelsea's trip to Japan as Europe's representatives in the FIFA Club World Cup.
But that ended in yet another humiliating defeat for the struggling Blues, as Chelsea became the first European Champions League winners to fail to win the trophy in six years, beaten by South American champions Corinthians 1-0 in the final.
As a result, a trip north to face Championship side Leeds at an always-intimidating Elland Road is probably the last thing Chelsea's players want after a long flight home from Japan, and expect manager Rafael Benitez to field a weakened side for this clash.
Yet Chelsea are not only the odds-on favourites to win this match at $1.89 with Betfair - with Leeds at $4.30 and the draw at $4 - but they remain the $2.04 favourites to win the League Cup this season.
Then it is fellow Premier League sides in mid-table Swansea and Aston Villa at $4.30 and $5 respectively, followed by Leeds at $17 and giant killers Bradford at $30.
The draw for the semi-finals will be made after the Leeds-Chelsea tie.
However, there is no doubt Leeds are real value in this game and capable of adding to the long list of upsets in the competition.
|Leeds United to win v Chelsea at $4.30 at Betfair
||Aston Villa to win the League Cup at $5 at Betfair|
With a win, the famous old Yorkshire club have a genuine chance of taking their first major trophy in 21 years.
Leeds are sitting in 12th place in the Championship but have won four of their past five matches and have already eliminated Premier League sides Everton and Southampton at Elland Road in this competition this season.
And should Leeds win this match, it will throw this year's Capital One Cup wide open, leaving two lower division clubs fighting it out with Cinderella team Swansea and fallen giants Aston Villa to win this season's competition.
In that case we would fancy Villa, whose last trophy came in 1996 in this competition at the expense of Leeds, and we recommend snapping up the $5 on offer at Betfair on them to win this competition now because their price will shorten dramatically should Leeds knock out Chelsea on Wednesday.
* Note prices subject to change