The Carabao Cup has thrown up some intriguing ties as eight teams battle to make it to the semi-final stage of the competition.
Arguably the two favourites to lift the trophy, Man City and Manchester United, have avoided each other and have received favourable draws going into their derby on Saturday.
Other teams have huge chances to put themselves within touching distance of a rare cup final.
Sportsmail takes a look at some of the things you should look out for in this weeks’ quartet of games.
Carabao Cup specialists Manchester City are widely tipped as favourites to win the trophy
Erik ten Hag set to ring in the changes
Manchester United could move within a point of rivals City with a victory in the derby this weekend, and therefore Ten Hag is expected to rest a number of key players when they play Charlton on Tuesday night.
In what is a match they are heavily expected to win, the likes of in-form Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Casemiro will likely be dropped to the bench.
Youngsters Alejandro Garnacho and Anthony Elanga are almost guaranteed a place in the starting line-up.
Marcus Rashford is expected to be dropped for Manchester United’s clash with Charlton
Jack Butland is likely to make his debut after he was signed to replace Martin Dubravka who was called back from his loan by Newcastle.
Keeping his players fresh will be important for Ten Hag, who if they beat Charlton, will have played nine matches by the end of January.
Their opponents this weekend are also expected to keep their main starts, including Erling Haaland, out of the line-up.
Erik ten Hag will ring in the changes while Alejandro Garnacho is expected to start
Man City striker Erling Haaland is likely to start on the bench for their quarter-final match
Charlton aim for upset amid off-pitch uncertainty
The biggest shock of this season’s Carabao Cup would come if Charlton are able to upset the odds and beat Manchester United at Old Trafford.
There is a big prize on offer for the side who are 12th in League One, as the club have not reached a semi-final in a major tournament since they won the FA Cup in 1947.
Charlton’s last away at Old Trafford was in 1986 when Mark Stuart scored the only goal, and prior to that, there only successes at the famous stadium were both in the 1930s.
The match comes at a time when rumours have been circulating that Danish owner Thomas Sandgaard is looking to sell the club.
As reported by the Guardian, Sandgaard is aiming to sell 80% of his shares for £11million – though they do not include the freeholds for the Valley or the club’s Sparrows Lane training ground.
Rumours have circulated that Charlton owner Thomas Sandgaard is looking to sell the club
Both of those are owned by previous club owner Roland Duchatelet, with the Belgian charging the club £500,000-a-season to rent their home and training ground.
Sandgaard’s initial hope had been to bring all the sections of the club under his ownership though the financial impact of the pandemic has created more problems than he thought.
As reported by BBC, he said: ‘It is no more difficult than I expected; it is just taking longer.
‘Getting into it, right in the middle of Covid, delayed the things by between a year and 18 months in terms of getting into the meat of it.
‘It is a long process. I have spent two and a half years primarily turning things around at the club. Most of that has been internal. We have changed a lot of things, not just on the football side but the business side too. There is still one, if not two seasons before we can say that things have been turned around.’
A win over Manchester United would be one of the biggest surprises of this year’s competition
Newcastle look to reach their first semi-final in 18 years
Newcastle fans are growing tired of waiting for their team to win a trophy.
Their 54-year wait since their last piece of major silverware is well known, but the truth is that they have not come anywhere close to winning a trophy for the last 18 years.
The last time they even reached a semi-final was in 2005 when Manchester United beat them 4-1 to advance to the final.
Eddie Howe has done a brilliant job since he came in at St James’ Park last season, but winning a trophy with the Magpies would automatically cement his legacy at the club.
The likes of Kevin Keegan, Sir Bobby Robson and Rafael Benitez were all massively popular among supporters though were never able to stop their trophy rot.
With Newcastle’s shocking FA Cup exit to Sheffield Wednesday, the match on Tuesday night has taken on even more importance.
Howe won’t be making the same mistake he made at Hillsborough when his much-changed team were knocked out by third-tier opposition.
He has vowed to name his strongest XI for their quarter-final against Leicester.
Newcastle are looking to reach their first semi-finals in 18 years as they also look to end their 54-year trophy draught
But the Carabao Cup could save Leicester’s season
The Foxes have had a season to forget in what has been Brendan Rodgers’ toughest at the club to date.
They sit a lowly 13th in the Premier League table and, despite a brief return to form before the World Cup, they have now lost their last three top-flight matches.
One of which was against Tuesday’s opponents Newcastle, who ran away with a comfortable 3-0 victory at the King Power Stadium on December 30.
Rodgers’ position at the club is at risk following their difficult campaign, but success in the Carabao Cup could save their season.
Leicester have been strong in domestic competitions since Rodgers joined the club in 2019 – famously lifting the FA Cup for the first time in 2021.
Winning the Carabao Cup would ensure them a return to Europe after a season away – a feat which would look impossible going off their league form.
Leicester have had a poor campaign though Carabao Cup success would save their season
Can ex-City homegrown players haunt their former club?
Pep Guardiola has led Man City to four Carabao Cup trophies in the last five seasons, and they are widely expected to win the competition for the fifth time under the Spanish manager.
Standing in their way of the semi-finals, is a favourable looking tie against Premier League strugglers Southampton.
Nathan Jones has endured a torrid time since replacing Ralph Hasenhuttl at St Mary’s, losing all four of their Premier League outings and now sitting bottom of the table.
They have however won both of their domestic cup games under Jones, and a number of former Man City players will be looking to haunt their former side.
Goalkeeper Gavin Bazanu, midfielder Romeo Lavia and winger Samuel Edozie are all in contention to start against City on Wednesday night.
Bazanu has been a regular for the Saints this season, Lavia has largely started when available, while Edozie has been used more as a bench option.
The trio will be keen to haunt their former club when they
Southampton’s Romeo Lavia will look haunt his former side Manchester City on Wednesday
Kalvin Phillips FINALLY set to make his first start
Phillips is in line to make a full Manchester City debut seven months after his £42million summer move.
Phillips came off the bench in the two victories against Chelsea last week after Pep Guardiola had criticised the 27-year-old’s fitness before Christmas, saying he had returned from the World Cup ‘overweight’.
But the City boss has been impressed by Phillips’ attitude since the rebuke and believes a corner has been turned.
Guardiola is expected to rest Rodri ahead of the Manchester derby – given that the Spaniard has missed just two games all season.
It means that Phillips is in prime position to step in for the Spaniard and finally get his chance to shine from the start.
Phillips’ start to City life has been hampered by the dislocated shoulder he suffered in September which left him needing surgery.
Kalvin Phillips is expected to make a first start for Man City after a tough start to life at the club
Forest look to recover from Blackpool humiliation
Nottingham Forest were just starting to find their groove before they crashed back down to earth with a humiliating 4-1 FA Cup defeat to Championship strugglers Blackpool.
Before the loss to Blackpool, Forest claimed a huge victory over fellow relegation battlers Southampton, while also took a hard-fought point against Chelsea at home.
Steve Cooper will be keen for his side to quickly find their groove going into some important Premier League games.
Similar to Newcastle, it will be a massive achievement for Cooper to get his side into the semi-finals.
Nottingham Forest are looking to reach their first semi-final since the 1990 League Cup
Forest have not reached the semi-final in either the FA or League Cup since they beat Oldham Athletic in the final of the latter competition back in 1990.
They come up against a Wolves side who have also started to improve under new manager Julen Lopetegui.
Wolves have become a much more difficult team to beat and they come off a 2-2 draw with Liverpool in the FA Cup – a game that they were unfortunate not to walk away with a win at Anfield.
Forest will look to bounce back from their 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Blackpool in the FA Cup