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Wednesday's EFL Cup preview: Top-flight trio return to action

The fourth round of the EFL Cup continues on Wednesday with three more ties taking place, including at Old Trafford where Manchester United face Championship leaders Burnley.

Nottingham Forest are also up against promotion hopefuls from the second tier when they travel to Ewood Park to take on Blackburn Rovers, while it is League One opposition for Brighton & Hove Albion as they visit Charlton Athletic.

Kompany's Manchester reunion

What: Manchester United v Burnley
Where: Old Trafford, Manchester
When: 20:00, Wednesday 21st December
How to watch: Sky Sports Main Event and Football
Odds: Man Utd 2/5, Draw 4/1, Burnley 6/1

United's first match following the World Cup break will certainly be tricky, as they will be facing a Burnley side who not only sit three points clear at the top of the Championship standings, but who have only lost one of their last 22 matches across all competitions.

That run includes eight victories in nine for the Clarets, who have also been catching the eye with an attractive style of play following Vincent Kompany's appointment as manager over the summer.

As a former Manchester City captain, Kompany will have extra motivation to get one over United this midweek, and Burnley do have a recent memory of winning at Old Trafford, claiming a 2-0 Premier League success there in January 2020.

However, that is Burnley's only win across their last 15 meetings with United, who claimed a 3-1 victory when the two teams last met at Old Trafford in December 2021.

Like Burnley, Erik ten Hag's side are also in form, as they only lost one of their final 12 matches prior to the World Cup, while the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo over the break appears to have restored a sense of calm at Old Trafford.

United are 2/5 in the Full Time Result Market and should win this tie, but there could be goals along the way.

Burnley are averaging exactly two-per-game in the Championship this season and Over 3.5 goals in the match can be backed at 6/4.

Forest face tricky Ewood trip

What: Blackburn Rovers v Nottingham Forest
Where: Ewood Park, Blackburn
When: 19:45, Wednesday 21st December
Odds: Blackburn 11/5, Draw 9/4, Nottm Forest 13/10

The World Cup came at the wrong time for Nottingham Forest, as after a difficult start to the season they registered back-to-back wins before the break against Tottenham in the EFL Cup and Crystal Palace in the Premier League.

Head coach Steve Cooper will be hoping his side can rediscover that momentum against a Blackburn team who may be a division below Forest in the standings, but there are only five places separating the two clubs in the pyramid.

Rovers sit third in the Championship standings and they have already taken one Premier League scalp in this season's EFL Cup, disposing of West Ham via a penalty shootout in round three.

Jon Dahl Tomasson's side are very much a Jekyll and Hyde team, as they have not drawn a single league match to date this season, registering 13 wins and 10 defeats.

Most of those wins have come at Ewood Park, with only Burnley having picked up more home points than Rovers in the Championship this season.

Blackburn are 11/5 in the Full Time Result market, but do not be surprised if, like their tie with West Ham, this one goes the distance, with both sides priced at 5/1 to win the match on penalties.

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League Cup: All You Need to Know

No problems anticipated for Albion

What: Charlton Athletic v Brighton & Hove Albion
Where: The Valley, London
When: 19:45, Wednesday 21st December
Odds: Charlton 7/1, Draw 9/2, Brighton 1/3

It has been an impressive campaign to date for Brighton, as they will head into Wednesday's cup trip to Charlton sitting seventh in the Premier League standings and having already accounted for Arsenal in this season's EFL Cup.

Roberto De Zerbi certainly appears to have settled in quickly after replacing Graham Potter as head coach in September and the feel-good factor continues to surround The Amex after midfielder Alexis Mac Allister helped Argentina to World Cup glory on Sunday.

Understandably Mac Allister will not be involved at The Valley, but many of Brighton's other World Cup stars are expected to feature, which could be rather worrying for their struggling opponents.

Charlton are through to the fourth round of the EFL Cup for the first time in 15 years, but their overall form is a concern, as they have failed to win any of their seven matches since booking their place in the last 16.

That poor run ultimately cost manager Ben Garner his job, but the Addicks have lost their two matches since the 42-year-old's dismissal as well, going down to Stockport in the FA Cup and Bristol Rovers in the league.

Having knocked out Championship Queens Park Rangers earlier in this season's EFL Cup, Charlton will have some hope of pulling off a shock, but it is difficult to see anything other than a Brighton victory and the Seagulls are 6/5 to win the match to nil.

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