Premier League sides enter the Carabao Cup from today and one of the trickiest assignments for a top-flight team might well be West Ham, who have landed themselves a trip to Newport Country for their first-round tie.
In the last two seasons Newport County have beaten Leeds (2-1), Leicester (2-1) and Middlesbrough (2-0) at home, and they even held Manchester City for 45 minutes in the FA Cup last season in the last 16. Their League Cup record isn’t as good – Newport haven’t been past the second-round since 2013, but they have made a strong start to this season, going unbeaten in five games and lying fifth in League Two.
That early progress for them has come with a slight cost. They have suffered injuries to Robbie Willmott, Jamille Matt, Scott Bennett, Matty Dolan, Joss Labadie and Mickey Demetriou. For context, four of those players started the 2-1 win over Leicester in the FA Cup third round last season.
West Ham travel to Wales fresh off the back of their first win of the new season, a fine 3-1 victory against Watford in the Premier League. That performance showed the potential that the Hammers have this season but we are sure to see a much changed side heading here, as one would expect for an early season league cup game.
Some of the bigger names we are likely to see will include Carlos Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Robert Snodgrass and Michail Antonio, along with a start up front for Albian Ajeti, a new signing from Basel who scored 21 goals in 43 appearances last season.
It has the look of a pretty strong team, especially with Pablo Zabaleta set to make his first start of the season at right back whilst Aaron Cresswell is likely to be recalled on the other side.
Newport County v West Ham
Carabao Cup 2nd Round
19:45 Sky Sports Football / Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Ultra HD
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This is a hard game to weigh up, but the injuries Newport have suffered are likely to be a significant handicap even against a changed West Ham side, and that might be enough to help the Hammers avoid another League Cup exit here.
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