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English football betting expert Jim Knight rounds up three contenders for the competition which resumes this week

Odds supplied by William Hill

England's Carling Cup returns this week with Premier League teams dominating the outright odds for the competition. Birmingham City caused an upset to defeat Arsenal in this year's final and the Gunners have never recovered from that shock defeat.

Although the League Cup lacks the allure of the FA Cup or the Champions League it is no longer discarded as a nuisance by most of the top clubs. Recent winners have included Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea. Let's take a look at three potential winners of this year's competition.

Manchester City @ 5/1 (6.0)

After their FA Cup success last season Roberto Mancini has the taste of silverware back at the Ethiad Stadium. The Citizens are involved in four competitions this year but with the squad that they have in place their team of fringe players could still do very well. The likes of Owen Hargreaves, Mario Balotelli and Nigel De Jong could all find themselves with a chance to impress. City showed their ability to beat big sides in the later rounds of domestic cups last season and they are outright favourites to add this one to the honours list.

Arsenal @ 8/1 (9.0)

After a demoralising defeat to now relegated Birmingham City in last year's final Arsene Wenger may feel he has demons to exorcise in this competition. The Gunners have had a very poor start to the EPL season by their standards and after losing key players such as Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri in the transfer window the Arsenal faithful appear to be losing patience. Nobody needs reminding that Arsenal's last trophy was way back in 2005 and they have lost two Carling Cup finals since then (2007 & 2011). Some silverware in the Emirates cabinet could serve to appease the doubters.

West Bromwich Albion @ 40/1 (41.0)

Roy Hodgson led Fulham on a glorious Europa League run which culminated in a defeat to Atletico Madrid in the 2010 final. West Brom have no European commitments this season and they may prove very competitive in domestic cup fare.

Their league form may not have been the best so far but a cup run can often act as a catalyst to improve fortunes as the season wears on. The Baggies do have quality in the ranks at the Hawthorns with the likes of Roman Bednar, Zoltan Gera and Marton Fulop likely to feature as well as promising youngsters such as Joe Mattock. WBA will prove a challenge for most sides be they Premier League or otherwise.

League Cup Outright Winner (William Hill Odds)
Man City 5/1 (6.0)
Man Utd 11/2 (6.50)
Chelsea 11/2 (6.50)
Liverpool 6/1 (7.0)
Arsenal 8/1 (9.0)
Tottenham 12/1 (13.0)
Everton 14/1 (15.0)
Aston Villa 16/1 (17.0)
Newcastle 25/1 (26.0)


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