The League Cup reaches its third stage this week as Premier League clubs hope to avoid an early giant-killing at the hands of lower-league opposition, with many holding desires of walking up those Wembley steps towards the first domestic silverware of the season.
Early top-flight pace-setters Chelsea will undoubtedly be favourites but, with Manchester United failing to add to their trophy cabinet last season, Sir Alex Ferguson will be determined to regain the upper hand over Manchester City.
Arsene Wenger will view this as a very winnable competition as he strives to end Arsenal's seven-year trophy drought, although he has a decision to make over whether he sticks to his principles of blooding younger players in the cups.
Brendan Rodgers has suffered a torrid start to life at holders Liverpool and will hope to silence the naysayers by successfully defending the trophy.
|A CHAMPIONSHIP SHOCK?|
|80/1||Leeds United are 80/1 with Bet365 to win the League Cup|
Everton's blistering early-season form will stand them in good stead as they look to reward David Moyes’ 10-year stay at Goodison Park with a trophy.
Andre Villas-Boas will also been looking to lift his first piece of silverware since arriving in England last year and, with his Tottenham side finally clicking into place, the White Hart Lane chief will hope to put his Chelsea demons to rest.
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has made winning a trophy a priority on Tyneside this season and, with Demba Ba back amongst the goals, there is genuine reason for Magpies fans to be optimistic.
Who are up backing to lift the trophy in February? One of the traditional top-four clubs? Perhaps the likes of Everton or Spurs? Or an outsider?
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