Charlie Nicholas' EFL Cup predictions: Wins for Leicester, Liverpool and Arsenal

Generic Charlie Nicholas image 10/08/2016
Image: Charlie Nicholas provides his EFL Cup views

Charlie Nicholas has provided us with his EFL Cup third-round predictions, starting with Tuesday night's eight games.

We've got four contests between Premier League and lower-league opposition, three all Sky Bet EFL contests and, live on Sky Sports 1 HD, a battle between the previous two champions of England.

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Here's what Charlie is expecting to happen and his Sky Bet predictions...

Leicester v Chelsea

This is going to be a cracking game. Chelsea have got problems, not dramatic ones, but Antonio Conte doesn't seem to know what his best team is, going with more workers than creative players.

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They're relying on Eden Hazard as their creator as they're not using a playmaker but Cesc Fabregas should have the chance to come in here, while Conte will rotate with the likes of Pedro and Michy Batshuayi coming in.

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Claudio Ranieri has called on Leicester fans to give N'Golo Kante a warm welcome on Tuesday when the midfielder returns with Chelsea

Leicester took a while to get going on Saturday but when they did they looked like the champions again and I think they'll knock Chelsea out, with Shinji Okazaki coming back into the side and doing the business.

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Charlie predicts: Leicester 2-1 Chelsea, Okazaki to score first (60/1 with Sky Bet)

Bournemouth v Preston

Well it's a good opportunity for Bournemouth to get their confidence back up after being well beaten on Saturday.

I was surprised Eddie Howe picked Jack Wilshere but I guess he saw it as a free hit, but it was strange to leave Callum Wilson and Benik Afobe out. I think both strikers might play here and they'll go out to build some momentum.

Eddie Howe, Manager of Bournemouth claps the fans after the final whistle against Crystal Palace
Image: Eddie Howe is likely to make changes for Tuesday's tie

Preston lost by an even bigger margin at Brentford so it's probably an ideal game for the Cherries to do that.

Charlie predicts: Bournemouth 3-0 Preston, Afobe to score first (35/1 with Sky Bet)

Brighton v Reading

I'm not sure about Reading. They've come up with some strange results under Jaap Stam but head into the game on the same points as their hosts, having drawn 2-2 at the Madejski Stadium.

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Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Burton Albion and Brighton & Hove Albion

Brighton are a better team and got a nice late winner at the weekend thanks to a Tomer Hemed penalty, so I fancy them to prevail here.

Charlie predicts: Brighton 3-1 Reading, Anthony Knockaert to score first (50/1 with Sky Bet)

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Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Barnsley and Reading

Derby v Liverpool

This always comes across as a dangerous trip for Premier League sides but Derby have obviously taken a long time to get going under Nigel Pearson, which is a little surprising. They finally got a good result at the weekend so they'll see this as an opportunity to build on that positivity.

Goalscorers Jordan Henderson (14) and Dejan Lovren celebrate victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge
Image: Liverpool goalscorers Jordan Henderson (14) and Dejan Lovren celebrate victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge

Liverpool are a dangerous side away from home and imagine they'll play Divock Origi and Roberto Firmino, while they can't really change much at the back, so I fancy them to come through this

Charlie predicts: Derby 1-3 Liverpool, Firmino to score first (30/1 with Sky Bet)

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Liverpool face Derby in the EFL Cup with Jurgen Klopp saying last year's beaten finalists can win the trophy this season

Everton v Norwich

Everton are going well under Ronald Koeman but he made a lot of changes in this competition with Southampton, so I'd wait until you see the line-ups before having a bet.

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Everton manager Ronald Koeman says the club are trying to keep striker Romelu Lukaku, who has been a key part of their unbeaten start this season

We spoke about it on Soccer Saturday, Everton are my dark horses, but have they got enough cover at the back? I'm not so sure. The likes of Gerard Deulofeu, Arouna Kone and James McCarthy will come in and they should be good enough to beat Norwich, who will have a go.

Charlie predicts: Everton 2-1 Norwich, Deulofeu to score first (40/1 with Sky Bet)

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Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Nottingham Forest and Norwich City

Leeds v Blackburn

Blackburn finally got a result at the weekend but Owen Coyle is under pressure already and it looks like a real struggle for them this season.

Garry Monk looked close to the end but suddenly they've got a couple of results and people are starting to believe again. It feels like they are improving, with Abel Hernandez providing the creativity behind their main threat Chris Wood.

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Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Blackburn and Rotherham United

Charlie predicts: Leeds 2-0 Blackburn, Wood to score first (30/1 with Sky Bet)

Newcastle v Wolves

It's a re-run of the weekend after a big result for Wolves. Walter Zenga got a response after slaughtering his players.

Rafael Benitez will be demanding the response this time and while it might not be a classic performance, I think the likes of Dwight Gayle will be determined to prove they're better than what we saw on Saturday.

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Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers

Charlie predicts: Newcastle 1-0 Wolves, Gayle to score first (16/1 with Sky Bet)

Nottingham Forest v Arsenal

Well we know Forest score a lot of goals but they also concede plenty. Nicklas Bendtner will be available and I wouldn't be surprised if the story unfolded that he scores.

Nottingham Forest's new signing Nicklas Bendtner during a photocall at the City Ground, Nottingham
Image: Nottingham Forest's Nicklas Bendtner could play against former club Arsenal

I would image Olivier Giroud will be fit and then there's Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain, Mohamed Elneny and Granit Xhaka needing game time, while I'd also like to see the young lad Jeff Reine-Adelaide play as I think he'll be a big star. You've also got Kieran Gibbs and Mathieu Debuchy to come in, so I'm not giving them any excuses as this should be a good win.

Charlie predicts: Nottingham Forest 1-3 Arsenal, Giroud to score first (28/1 with Sky Bet)

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