Five talking points ahead of the Carabao Cup semi-finals

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The Carabao Cup semi-finals begin this week with the first legs of Tottenham v Chelsea and Manchester City v Burton being played.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at some of the talking points.

Managers wanting silverware

When assessing the managerial credentials of Mauricio Pochettino, who has been heavily linked with Real Madrid and Manchester United, there is only usually one negative – his lack of silverware.

The Argentinian is yet to pick up a trophy of any description in a career that has also taken in Espanyol and Southampton. This competition undoubtedly represents a good opportunity to get off the mark.

Likewise for Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri, he is also chasing a first managerial trophy and there is a strong chance to secure something tangible from his first season at Stamford Bridge before the end of February.

Son out to make his mark

Son Heung-min has been in outstanding form for Spurs in recent weeks and Pochettino will miss the South Korean when he departs for international duty at the Asian Cup next week.

That will take him out of the reckoning for the second leg in a fortnight so the 26-year-old only has one chance to make an impact in this tie.

Hudson-Odoi in the spotlight

Chelsea’s highly-rated 18-year-old winger Callum Hudson-Odoi took his chance to impress by providing both goals for Alvaro Morata against Nottingham Forest at the weekend.

Watford FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League

The youngster has been the subject of interest from Bayern Munich and Chelsea are keen to keep him, but it remains to be seen if Sarri will give him another chance. He is expected at least to be in the squad and eyes will be on him at Wembley.

Another chance for Foden

Phil Foden has been one of the most talked-about teenagers in the English game for some time but remains a largely unseen talent. Such is the quality of Pep Guardiola’s squad that opportunities for the 18-year-old midfielder have been limited.

He has seen action this season but starts have mostly been restricted to domestic cup fixtures. He scored against Rotherham on Sunday and this could be a big month with potential further appearances in both legs against Burton and an FA Cup fourth-round tie.


Burton making up the numbers

If Burton, the 100/1 outsiders of the semi-final quartet, were to beat Guardiola’s star-studded side over two legs it would surely be regarded as one of the greatest of all cup upsets.

The manner City brushed aside Championship opposition in Rotherham at the weekend is probably a worrying sign for the League One outfit. Nevertheless, both legs should be great occasions on and off the field for a club that was playing non-League football a decade ago.

Reaching this stage has been a fine achievement once again for Nigel Clough, who has now managed in the EFL Cup semi-finals three times with three different clubs, evoking the winning spirit of his late father Brian.

League Cup
Maurizio Sarri
Callum Hudson Odoi
Pep Guardiola
Mauricio Pochettino
Alvaro Morata
Tottenham Hotspur
Manchester City
Burton Albion

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