Manchester City? Chelsea? Leeds United? Who will win this season's Carabao Cup

This midweek sees the return of the Carabao Cup as teams battle in the opening round of the competition. To celebrate, Planet Sport takes a look at the favourites to lift the trophy.

Manchester City 11/4

Having won four successive Carabao Cups, it's little surprise to see Manchester City priced as short as 11/4 to defend their crown.

Seeing Pep Guardiola and his men lift the trophy has turned into an annual occurrence. In fact, their winning run has allowed them to become the joint-most successful club in this competition's history.

As things stand, both City and Liverpool have eight League Cups in their trophy cabinets. However, considering how both teams have strengthened during the summer, it's the Manchester outfit who are more likely to take the lead in the all-time standings.

Chelsea 11/2

Thomas Tuchel does not mess around.

Since coming to the club, he has turned Chelsea from a team content with a top-four finish to one that conquered Europe.

After last season's Champions League success and huge investment over the summer, the goal will now turn to winning their first Premier League crown since 2016/17. Despite this, domestic honours will also remain on their radar.

Chelsea last won the Carabao Cup back in 2015 when they beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 at Wembley. Their last final appearance came three years ago when they lost on penalties to Manchester City.

While lifting this trophy may not be at the top of their agenda, it's hard to see who could possibly eliminate the Blues when they hit top form.

Manchester United 15/2

During the Sir Alex Ferguson era, Manchester United were regulars in League Cup finals. Then again, they were regulars in almost all finals.

However, the club has since failed to rediscover their title-winning identity. Instead, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has turned them into a group of nearly-men.

Since their Europa League triumph in 2017, the Red Devils have been in four semi-finals, two quarter-finals, three cup finals and twice finished as Premier League runners-up.

The bookmakers have priced United at 15/2 to win but considering Solskjaer's trophy winning rate, I think we'll pass.

Liverpool 8/1

On one hand, the 8/1 price tag may look like a steal. But before you get your wallet out, there's a few things we have to mention.

Firstly, Liverpool seem to be falling behind in the transfer market arms race.

Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea have all strengthened in the off-season. Even the usually spendthrift Arsenal have thrown some money around.

The Reds, on the other hand, have remained relatively quiet since their acquisition of Ibrahima Konate last May.

The second problem concerns the African Cup of Nations. If Liverpool make the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup, they will need to deal with the absence of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Joel Matip and possibly even Naby Keita.

The price may be tempting but the reality of the situation certainly puts things into perspective.

It may be best to look elsewhere.

The outsiders

We had a look at the top four in the market but what about some of the outsiders?

Leeds United certainly make for an interesting choice at 20/1. The Whites have recruited well and it seems like this season there is a change of priorities at Elland Road.

Two years ago, it was all about promotion. Last year it was all about survival. This year will be all about progress - and that includes a decent cup run.

In eight years, the club have only made one cup quarter-final. What's more, Leeds have not made it past the second round of the Carabao Cup since Marcelo Bielsa became manager.

Leeds are due a cup run and the competition could do with a fresh name on the trophy following the dominance of Manchester City.

Another team worth a mention are Aston Villa at 28/1. Yes, they might have lost Jack Grealish. However, the signings of Emiliano Buendia, Leon Bailey, Danny Ings and even Ashley Young make them a very dangerous side.

Aston Villa reached the final of this competition in 2020 when they lost 2-1 to Manchester City.

It must not be forgotten that the Villains are the third most successful side in Carabao Cup history and they are capable of springing a surprise.

READ MORE: Rangers to come up short, plus six other bets for your Tuesday night acca