Carabao Cup round one talking points: Rule changes, historic meetings and more
Watch Yeovil v Aston Villa and Sunderland v Sheffield Wednesday this week, live on Sky Sports Football
By Dan Long
Last Updated: 14/08/18 8:11pm
The 2018/19 Carabao Cup gets underway on Tuesday evening and, from rule changes to historic clashes, there is plenty to look out for.
Sky Bet League One and Two sides, as well as the majority of Championship clubs, start their campaigns in midweek and the tournament will look different this year.
Here's all you need to know - and some of the games to keep an eye on...
Extra-time will be scrapped in all rounds except for the final in a bid to "reduce fatigue issues".
Any tie that finishes level at full-time will head straight to penalties and the ABBA system has been ditched, meaning spot-kicks will be taken in the traditional format.
Seeding has been removed for the first two rounds, though the first round has remained organised on a regional basis.
VAR will also be used in the competition - but only for matches played at Premier League grounds.
Mind the gap
Of the fixtures drawn for the first round of the competition, Yeovil v Aston Villa features the biggest difference in league positions. Aston Villa - who lost out to Fulham in the Championship play-off final last season - finished fourth in the Championship, while Yeovil - who were in the second tier in the 2013/14 campaign - escaped relegation to the National League by just four points.
The historic first meeting between the pair is live on Sky Sports Football on Tuesday night. Build-up gets underway at 7.30pm, with the game kicking off at 7.45pm.
Of the 72 teams who play beneath the Premier League, 70 will participate in the first round of the competition. As the two highest-placed of the three sides relegated to the Championship, Stoke and Swansea have received byes to the second round.
Premier League sides enter at round two - see the draw live on Sky Sports on Thursday night - apart from Arsenal, Burnley, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham, who have received byes to the third round due to their participation in European competition.
Troubled clubs compete
The spotlight turns to the Stadium of Light on Thursday evening as Sunderland welcome Sheffield Wednesday, live on Sky Sports Football.
Sunderland's first season in League One since 1987 has begun with a victory over Charlton and a draw with Luton as they look to regain a foothold in the game and build after a tumultuous few years. The Owls, however, are without a win in their first two games and remain under a transfer embargo.
Victory in the cup could kick-start Wednesday's season, while Sunderland will hope to retain that winning feeling.
History will be made
Packed within the first-round schedule are two historic meetings between clubs that have never previously crossed paths. Norwich and Stevenage face off at Carrow Road, while League Two Yeovil meet Aston Villa for the first time.
Elsewhere, Preston and Morecambe - whose grounds are less than 30 miles apart - will meet for just the fifth time and Nottingham Forest and Bury will do battle for the first time in over 20 years, when Forest triumphed in a 3-0 second-tier win in March 1998.
We meet again
Lee Johnson's Bristol City have been drawn against Plymouth Argyle for the second season in succession. In an unprecedented run, the Robins reached the Carabao Cup semi-final in 2017/18 and pushed eventual champions Manchester City to the limit, bowing out after a 5-3 aggregate defeat.
There is another reunion as Hull City boss Nigel Adkins returns to Sheffield United for the first time since his sacking in May 2016. In charge for a few weeks short of a year, Adkins guided the Blades to an 11th-place finish in League One - the lowest since 1983 - and was duly relieved of his duties shortly after the conclusion of the season.
His new-look Hull side have taken a point from their opening two Championship games after narrowly escaping a second successive relegation to League One last term and with his former club having got up and running with a 2-1 win over QPR at Loftus Road at the weekend, there's an interesting tie in prospect.
Everyone loves a cup upset, but where could the shocks come in round one?
QPR boss Steve McClaren will be hoping to avoid a third straight defeat when his side welcome high-flying Peterborough to Loftus Road; the R's are currently evens with Sky Bet to win, while Posh are 13/5 to advance to the second round.
Several Championship sides are likely to shuffle their packs after a busy start to the season; could promotion hopefuls Nottingham Forest or West Brom struggle at the hands of lower-league opposition? Bury are rated 13/2 to win at the City Ground, while League One newcomers Luton are a 19/4 shot to surprise the Baggies.
Brentford and Derby face tricky trips to Southend and Oldham, while Gillingham - with two wins from two so far - are 9/2 to oust Millwall.
Follow the first round of the Carabao Cup on Soccer Special and with our live blog on skysports.com and the Sky Sports app.
*Odds correct at 1.20pm on August 13 and subject to fluctuation.
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