The English League Cup (called the Carabao Cup due to sponsorship reasons) returned this week. The round of 16 turned out to be an interesting round of matches with two matches going to extra time and also a couple of huge upsets. Here are some of the biggest talking points of the games played.
When Eddie Nketiah came on for Arsenal in the 85th minute, few could have foreseen what was going to happen. At the time, it seemed all doom and gloom for the Gunners. Norwich was leading 1-0 at the Emirates Stadium and an exit from the league cup looked inevitable for the home side. Then, 18-year-old Nketiah in only his second appearance for Arsenal scored within 15 seconds off coming off the bench. He would not stop there as he went on to the head the winner in Extra time. While one must only guard against carried away, the Arsenal faithful might just have seen the birth of a future star.
Many have tried over the past couple of months but failed. Most have been demolished. When Pep Guardiola named Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling in the starting 11 for the league cup tie, one could fear the worse for Wolves. But the championship team had other ideas. The Premier League leaders were not able to breach them as the game went into penalties. The new ABBA system came into use as the hosts progressed to the next round. While Wolves could only rue missed chances, they exhibited why they are favorites to be promoted this season. They also gave teams in the top division a lesson on how to approach a game vs Manchester City.
Crystal Palace’s terrible start to the season is well documented. They have already sacked a manager and started with 7 losses in a row in the league. A couple of weeks ago, when they beat Chelsea, it seemed like a turning point. That was clearly not the case. Following another loss to Newcastle United, Palace went to Ashton gate to face championship side Bristol Rovers. In spite of taking the lead, Roy Hodgson’s team were hammered 4-1 as their league cup campaign came to end. Palace’s season seems to be getting from bad to worse and its tough to foresee things changing dramatically at this point.
Manchester United face an injury crisis of their own and hence Jose Mourinho had no choice but to give young players a chance in the league cup tie. They are short on numbers in defense and midfield which led to opportunities for Tunazebe and Mctominay. Both of them impressed and put in solid shifts. They showed Jose that he can trust them whenever the need arises.
At Stamford Bridge, Antonio Conte saw a similar story. While Mosounda’s talent is always known, he exhibited that with the assist for Chelsea’s first goal. Andre Christensen has been called up many times this season and unsurprisingly he was brilliant except for Everton’s late consolation goal. But the performance of the night for Chelsea came in form of 17-year-old Ethan Ampadu. His calmness, composure, and comfort on the ball made it hard to believe that he is just 17. The former Exter player has already been called up by Wales and clearly has a bright future ahead of him.