The Carabao Cup fourth round starts this evening with three tasty ties in store.
Leading contenders Chelsea host Southampton and in-form Arsenal welcome Leeds to North London in two all-Premier League affairs.
And there will be at least one side from outside the top flight in the quarter-finals tonight with Championship side QPR meeting League One Sunderland in tonight’s other contest.
Arsenal vs Leeds (7.45pm, Sky Sports Main Event)
Arsenal will hope to extend their fine recent record against Leeds when the Yorkshiremen visit the Emirates.
The Whites have not defeated their hosts in any of their last nine meetings across all competitions, a run that stretches back to a 3-2 victory at Highbury in May 2003.
Though the Gunners have reached the quarter-final stage in 14 of the last 18 seasons, they have not lifted the trophy since 1992-93.
Leeds, meanwhile, are looking to make the last eight for only the second time in 10 years.
It has been a tough campaign so far for Marcelo Bielsa’s visitors and the Argentine boss is once again set to be without a spate of first-team players for the clash.
Patrick Bamford (ankle) and Luke Ayling (knee) will be absent with Kalvin Phillips (hip) also a doubt.
Ex-Leeds loanee Eddie Nketiah could be one of several home fringe stars to feature.
Chelsea vs Southampton (7.45pm)
Premier League leaders Chelsea can feel optimistic about their Carabao Cup prospects this term — but only if they can avoid another last-16 exit against Southampton.
The Blues have been knocked out at this stage of the competition in four of the last six campaigns, including a 2-1 home loss to Manchester United in 2019-20 and a penalty shootout defeat to Tottenham last season.
These sides met in the league earlier this month, with Thomas Tuchel’s troops netting two late goals to secure a 3-1 victory — though the Saints have proven a different beast in the cup.
Struggling to score with only eight goals in their nine league outings this term, Saints have notched 10 goals in their two Carabao Cup outings — including an 8-0 victory at Newport in the second round.
Boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has made no secret of his desire to bring cup success to St Mary’s but will have to do without loanee Armando Broja, who is ineligible to face his parent club.
Several Chelsea’s stars will be hopeful of some game time while the likes of Romelu Lukaku (ankle) and Timo Werner (hamstring) remain sidelined.
QPR vs Sunderland (7.45pm)
An unexpected quarter-final spot is up for grabs at Loftus Road where QPR and Sunderland meet in the only last-16 tie not to feature a Premier League side.
The hosts enter as strong favourites given their Championship status and with Mark Warburton's men having won a dramatic penalty shootout against Everton to reach this stage.
Victory would see the Rs progress into the last eight for the first time since 1988-89 and they will take confidence from only having lost one of their last seven meetings against tonight’s opponents.
The Black Cats have made an encouraging start to their League One campaign and accounted for Port Vale, Blackpool and Wigan in earlier rounds — though this evening represents another step up for Lee Johnson’s side.
Finalists as recently as 2014, the men from the North East could become the first third-tier side to reach the quarter-finals since Oxford United in 2019.