The Carabao Cup Third Round sees QPR host Everton with both sides keen to bounce back from disappointing league defeats.
Queens Park Rangers’ decent start to the Championship season hit a snag after some disappointing results. After going on a six-game unbeaten run since the campaign began, the west Londoners were stunned with successive defeats in the league.
The first loss came against Championship leaders Bournemouth, while Bristol City dented their hopes of climbing up the table with a narrow win last week. The Londoners remain hopeful of keeping their winning run in the Carabao Cup going but face a tough challenge in Premier League side Everton.
The Toffees are also looking to build momentum after a blistering start to the Premier League season under new manager Rafael Benitez. After five rounds in the league, Everton have collected ten points and sit sixth on the table. Their unbeaten start to the season was halted by a rampant Aston Villa side that swept them away this past weekend.
Benitez will be hoping to rally his squad and inspire them to a victory over QPR in the Carabao Cup third round. In Round Two, the Toffees were comfortable winners over Huddersfield Town despite playing with ten men after Moise Kean was dismissed in the second half.
A win for Everton would ideally boost their morale ahead of their weekend fixture against Premier League strugglers Norwich City. Benitez will also be eager to move further into the next rounds of the cup competition and boost the club’s chances of landing a trophy this season.
Team News & Tactics
Mark Warburton has a few injury problems to contend with ahead of the Everton clash. Sam Field and Luke Wallace are certainly out of the game as they recover from knee and hamstring problems.
Meanwhile, talented midfielder Luke Amos, yet to make an appearance this season, could be given a bench role, with the idea of giving him some minutes. Striker Charlie Austin could get some minutes from the bench again after doing so against Bristol City.
Warburton could involve Albert Adomah, Jimmy Dunne and Andre Dozzell in his side and name a strong lineup against Everton. Moses Odubajo, who also played a part in the loss to Bristol City, might be selected for the right wing-back slot by the manager.
QPR could take the field in a 3-4-1-2 formation, as Warburton emphasises a solid defence while keeping the numbers in attack. Chris Willock and Lyndon Dykes could play as the two forwards, which means Austin could again be on the substitutes bench.
Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Archer; Kakay, Dickie, Dunne; Odubajo, Thomas, Dozzell, McCallum; Chair; Dykes, Willock
Rafael Benitez will again be without a number of his key Everton stars, absent due to injuries. Seamus Coleman, who suffered a hamstring problem before the Villa clash, remains out, joining Fabian Delph, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Jordan Pickford.
Colombian star James Rodriguez, reportedly suffering from a muscular problem, is also supposedly in Qatar, angling a move away from the Toffees and will certainly remain out of Benitez’s midweek plans. The Spanish manager could take the opportunity of this game to give some of his youngsters a chance to impress.
Jonjoe Kenny, Ellis Simms and Jarrad Branthwaite could all come into the lineup alongside Benitez’s experienced stars. One of them will again be Salomon Rondon, who will likely get another start in the team up front. Asmir Begovic will also start in place of the injured Pickford, hoping to bounce back from the disappointment at Villa.
There could also be starts for Tom Davies and Jean-Philippe Gbamin in central midfield, while Benitez is likely to retain Andros Townsend and Alex Iwobi in the lineup.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Begovic; Holgate, Keane, Branthwaite; Kenny, Gbamin, Davies, Gordon; Townsend, Rondon, Iwobi
- QPR have scored 20 goals in their last 21 games.
- QPR have scored 10 goals in their last 11 Carabao Cup games.
- Everton have won each of their last four Carabao Cup away matches.
- Everton have not lost in 10 of their last 11 Carabao Cup games in regulation time.
- Everton have scored at least one first-half goal in six of their previous seven Carabao Cup games.
Player to Watch
The Venezuelan striker was a surprise signing late in the transfer window, as Benitez reunited with Rondon for the third time after having worked with him at Newcastle and Dalian Pro. He offers something different up front, but more importantly, he has a reputation of being a reliable goalscorer.
With Calvert-Lewin out for at least another two weeks, he has to take the burden of leading the line for the Toffees. With crucial games in the Premier League coming up, Rondon should take the opportunity of this clash with QPR and get his rhythm in place to become a key member of Benitez’s squad.
QPR 1-3 Everton
QPR might have started the Championship season brightly, but they would find it difficult to replicate that form against Premier League heavyweights Everton. The Toffees have a very strong squad and should overcome their opponents in this EFL Cup tie. Rondon, in particular, will be eager to get off the mark for his new club. Expect the Toffees to win this by a decent margin and dump QPR out of the competition.