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

Carabao Cup draw - BLOG IMAGE
Image: The Carabao Cup kicks off this week with two games live on Sky Sports Football

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.

Carabao Cup first-round fixtures
Carabao Cup first-round preview

Here's all you need to know - and some of the games to keep an eye on...

Rule changes

Each season the laws of the game are refined and, in addition to the top-flight rule changes, the EFL announced the domestic cup competition would be subject to significant changes of its own.

Referee Nestor Pitana reviews the VAR footage during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, group F match between Mexico and Sweden
Image: VAR will be used at Premier League grounds during the Carabao Cup campaign

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.

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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.

Latest Carabao Cup odds

Latest Carabao Cup odds

The latest odds from the Carabao Cup and more...

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.

Jack Grealish's move to Tottenham appears to be off
Image: Aston Villa face Yeovil for the first time in their history on Tuesday evening

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.

Live Carabao Cup

Absent friends

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.

Gary Rowett
Image: Stoke and Swansea both received a bye 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.

Josh Maja (right) celebrates scoring Sunderland's equaliser against Charlton
Image: Sunderland are in the third tier for the first time since 1987

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.

Live Carabao Cup

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.

Tom James
Image: The meeting between Aston Villa and Yeovil is the game with the biggest difference in league positions last season

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.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 09:  Nigel Adkins, the manager of Sheffield United walks in at half time during the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between
Image: Nigel Adkins led Sheffield United to their worst finish since 1983 during his spell at the club

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.

Potential upsets

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.

Image: Steve McClaren has lost his first two games in charge of QPR

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 and the Sky Sports app.

*Odds correct at 1.20pm on August 13 and subject to fluctuation.

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