So that’s this round of the Caramac Cup done and dusted then, and many sides have moved one step nearer Wembley, and as a direct result many players of the bigger clubs have moved one step closer to being binned out of the side as their manager realises there is a chance they might actually win the tournament. It must be annoying for those players in the Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City B or C XI. They do all the hard work, and then back comes Mesut Ozil or Eden Hazard or Sergio Aguero to grab the glory at Wembley. Let’s be honest, the League Cup is pretty much the only chance Michy Batshuayi is going to get this season and Jack Wilshere has pencilled them all into his diary.
And he took that chance, boy did he take that chance. Michy scored a hat-trick against Nottingham Forest in Chelsea’s 5-1 win. It says here it was Eden Hazard’s first start since his injury, so that kills my point in the first paragraph. Typical. Mind you, my theory still has some validity considering Kenedy and Charly Musonda got the other goals for the League Champions.
Arsenal huffed and puffed at a very quiet Emirates Stadium. For once though, it was the lack of people that made it quiet rather than the people there not bothering to make any noise. I would imagine Arsene Wenger has very much chalked up last night’s 1-0 win over Doncaster Rovers as another big step taken in the direction towards redemption. And by redemption, Arsene means winning either the League Cup or the FA Cup (certainly not both) and maybe scraping into 4th place again if everyone else spontaneously combusts after Christmas.
Arsene has also said his minimal use of Alexis Sanchez since the whole transfer window saga thing was put to bed for at least eight more weeks has got nothing to do with the whole transfer window saga. Alexis is tired, apparently. Or coming back from injury. But he is happy. Happy alright? He is happy. And focused on Arsenal. Just Arsenal. He is certainly not thinking about getting away in January.
Manchester City conceded a goal which happens far less nowadays than when Vincent Kompany used to be out injured. Leroy Sane’s double saw them scrape past West Bromwich Albion who will be very relieved to cross the League Cup off the list of potential ways they could end up in the Europa League. Just aim for 10th like normal Tony, you’ll be OK.
Jose Mourinho tried to hide his disdain for the competition, but failed. Considering it was a trophy Manchester United won last season and it is something Mourinho has won before, the sponsors will have been delighted to hear him say, “well if it is an official competition then I suppose we should turn up. Now we are back in Europe, we are really too big to be worrying about playing silly little matches against teams like Burton Albion”. United beat Burton 4-1 with Marcus Rashford getting a brace, Anthony Martial getting one and even Jesse Lingard finding the back of the net. Easy Jesse, it’s not Wembley yet.
If Everton had managed to lose to Sunderland as well, then surely the gig would have been up for Ronald Koeman. The only flaw in that theory was that Everton were playing Sunderland and, obviously, beat them. It was 3-0 and if Koeman is getting many things wrong, one thing he is getting right is getting young English players on the pitch (even if it is only do to Wayne Rooney’s running for him). Dominic Calvert-Lewin netted twice and there was a first Everton goal for Oumar Niasse who has been told, repeatedly, by Ronald Koeman that he is crap and not wanted at Everton. And what better way to prove that is what you feel about him? Pick him in the Carabao Cup.
In the next round, Manchester United will play Paul Clement’s Swansea City, you know, if the FA insist and all that. Chelsea and Everton will get it on at the Bridge and Michy is already licking his lips at the prospect of facing Phil Jagielka (who used to be quite good). West Ham finally get a trip to Wembley, to play Tottenham Hotspur (the only team in the league that hate their home ground more than West Ham hate theirs). Manchester City welcome Portugal’s very own Wolverhampton Wanderers and Arsenal get to test Jack Wilshere once more against Norwich City. There are three other matches as well, but frankly, who cares?