While much of the attention in the 2022/23 English domestic season will be focused on the Premier League, the Carabao Cup offers a route to silverware for both big and small sides.
The Carabao Cup (also known as the EFL/League Cup) has undergone a successful revamp in recent seasons, with the competition revived in the eyes of the Premier League’s big hitters.
Last term, Liverpool secured their first title in the competition since 2012, as Jurgen Klopp’s side edged out Chelsea at Wembley in a penalty shootout, to end Manchester City’s four-year successive dominance of the trophy.
The renewed interest from City, Liverpool and others has brought the competition back from the brink and the 2022/23 version could well be another thriller.
When are the 2022/23 Carabao Cup dates?
As a shorter-format competition, compared to the FA Cup, the Carabao/EFL Cup is more flexible in terms of fixture scheduling.
With the absence of preliminary and qualifier rounds, due to only the 92 teams from the Premier League to League Two English pyramid being involved in the competition, the tournament begins in earnest at the first round proper stage.
In the first round, 70 teams enter the draw, including all 24 entrants from League One and Two, plus 22 of the 24 EFL Championship teams.
Round two brings in the Championship teams who finished 18th and 19th in the Premier League in 2021/22 (Burnley and Watford), plus the 13-non European competing Premier League clubs, and round three sees the final seven top-flight sides come in.
|Round||Date (weekend of)|
|First Round||Aug. 9, 2022|
|Second Round||Aug. 23, 2022|
|Third Round||Nov. 8, 2022|
|Fourth Round||Dec. 20, 2022|
|Quarter Final||Jan. 10, 2023|
|Semi Final (Two Legs)||Jan. 25 and Feb. 1, 2023|
|Final||Feb. 26, 2023|
When is the Carabao Cup final?
The Carabao/EFL Cup final is traditionally held much earlier than the FA Cup and European finals, with a late February date a usual fixture in the calendar.
The two-legged semifinals are both played home and away at the respective clubs, unlike the FA Cup last four ties, with the final showdown saved for Wembley.
The 2022/23 final will be held at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, February 26. The 2021/22 final kicked off at 16:30 (UK time), but the 2023 final start time is yet to be confirmed.
Will the Premier League fixture list collide with the Carabao Cup final?
The demands of the Premier League fixture list, particularly with the extra pressure of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, mean the 2022/23 schedule will be subject to ongoing changes.
The Carabao/EFL Cup final does not have the same level of protection as the FA Cup, with Premier League games expected to take place on the weekend of the final.
Due to the likelihood of at least one Premier League side competing in the final, there will be a reduced amount of games. The 2021/22 season included six top-flight matches the day before and Wolves vs. West Ham kicked off just beforehand.
Has the 2022 FIFA World Cup affected the Carabao Cup final?
The inclusion of a November/December World Cup has significantly impacted the English football calendar, with disruption expected throughout the European winter period.
The Premier League season kicks off on its earliest ever date in order to accommodate the break in games for the World Cup, and the FA Cup final has been moved into June for the first time in its history.
Premier League chiefs have confirmed a mid-season break, effective from Matchday16, with players expected to join up with national team squads from November 12/13 onwards, with the season restarting on December 26.
The World Cup will have an impact on the earlier rounds of the Carabao Cup, if not the final itself, with the third round scheduled for the week of November 8th and the fourth round set for December 20th/21st.
Players are expected to be rested and omitted from these games both ahead of the World Cup, and if their teams reach the latter stages in Qatar, with the final of the World Cup set for December 18th.