The Carabao Cup Semi-Final Second Legs – What’s in Store for Football Fans?

By this time next week, we’ll know which teams will be going head-to-head on 26 February to try to win the Carabao Cup. So how do things stand after the first legs of the semi-finals? How keen will the remaining teams be to claim the famous football cup this year?

Bristol City v Manchester City – Can Bristol Fight Back for the Win?

The first of the Carabao Cup’s return semi-final legs gets underway on Tuesday 23 January, with Bristol City taking on Manchester City at Ashton Gate. The Robins head into the match a goal down, but the first leg’s 2-1 scoreline doesn’t reflect how hard their opponents had to battle for the win.

A Bobby Reid penalty put Bristol ahead in the 44th minute. In the 55th minute, Kevin de Bruyne managed to equalise, but the hosts didn’t seal the win until the second minute of injury time, when Sergio Agüero netted one.

Manchester City won’t want to leave things until the dying minutes of the match again. They’ll also be determined to beat the team that embarrassed their local rivals, Manchester United, in quarter-finals. However, to secure more than one title in a season is an impressive feat and their primary focus must be to win the Premiership.

While Bristol City are also trying to make the most of their Premiership promotion prospects, they’re likely to throw everything they have at their opponents, particularly as they came so close to defeating them in the previous leg. They’ll also have the home advantage this time.

Arsenal v Chelsea – Who’ll Have the Edge in the Second Leg?

In previous years, the Gunners and the Blues may have had bigger fish to fry than winning this football cup, but the tournament has greater significance to both clubs this season.

Manchester City are currently running away with the Premiership title, Nottingham Forest despatched Arsenal from the FA Cup tournament in the third round, and both Wenger and Conte have been heavily criticised recently. Chelsea are still in contention for the FA Cup and Champions League titles and the Gunners are still in the running for the Europa League, but both teams will want to secure whatever silverware they can as the season comes to an end.

They head into the semi-final second leg on equal terms, with neither team having found a way through during their first leg tie at Stamford Bridge. The main discussion point after the match was Arsene Wenger’s decision not to bring Alexis Sánchez on until the 66th minute. The Chilean international has been the subject of transfer discussions in recent weeks, although Wenger assured the media that he hadn’t left him on the bench because of that. At the time of writing, a move to Manchester United was on the cards. However, the situation has been highly unsettling for the squad at a time when they should be concentrating on what they’re doing on the pitch.

Chelsea’s recent form, however, has been nothing to write home about either and they’ve been struggling to score. They had to battle to make it through to the fourth round of the FA Cup, for example, defeating Norwich on penalties in the end. Therefore, it’s tough to predict which team will triumph when they meet at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday 24 January.

Which teams do you think will make it into the Carabao Cup final this year? Tell us in the comments section, on Facebook or on Twitter.