Blues Strike First Dent in Liverpool’s Season

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Liverpool were the team to watch in the Carabao Cup this week. They were the clear favourites for the biggest tie of the round, a home encounter with Chelsea. Jurgen Klopp had carved out a 100% record with his side across all competitions this season, but their first setback came on Wednesday night at Anfield, despite the Reds taking the lead.

Daniel Sturridge scored the opening goal against his former side, and Liverpool edged in front in a tight game. Maurizio Sarri sent on Eden Hazard to try and get back in the tie, but it was left-back Emerson who got the visitors on level terms. Hazard stepped up after the equaliser, and his marvellous run and strike with five minutes to go gave the Blues a 2-1 lead, and put them in the hat for the next round. Meanwhile, Liverpool now have to bounce back from their first defeat of the season by heading to Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

The Student Masters Mourinho

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Frank Lampard’s managerial career got a boost against former boss Jose Mourinho on Tuesday night. The ex-Chelsea midfielder led Derby County to a victory over Manchester United, thanks to an 8-7 win on penalties. Derby had led before that, and United needed a 95th minute equaliser from Marouane Fellaini just to take the tie to spot kicks. Lampard’s Derby held their nerve, and their new boss now has a win at Old Trafford under his belt in his first season in management.

West Ham had little trouble dispatching of lower-league Macclesfield, as they claimed an 8-0 win at the London Stadium. Manuel Pellegrini got a thumping victory from his side on Wednesday, and a new star came to the forefront. Grady Diangana, a 20 year old winger, scored twice for the Hammers, as they booked their place in the last 16 in style.

Tottenham were forced to play their clash with Watford in Milton Keynes, after Wembley was booked up. They remain without a stadium, and this trip only made tension between the club and fans higher. At least their travelling support got to see a victory, of sorts, with Spurs winning on penalties after a 2-2 draw. Dele Alli struck twice in the win, which would have been special for the former MK Dons player. Elsewhere, Phil Foden was proving his worth for Man City, as he had a hand in all three goals as Man City beat Oxford 3-0.

Gunners Keep Streak Alive

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It’s now six wins on the spin for Arsenal, who cruised to a victory over Brentford on Wednesday. Unai Emery named a solid side for the Carabao Cup clash, and they triumphed thanks to a brace from Danny Welbeck. Alexandre Lacazette added to his tally with a late goal, and that put some gloss on the scoreline. While it wasn’t a standout win for the Gunners, it’s hard to argue with their current results.

Tuesday brought more misery for Burnley, who were dumped out by League One Burton. The Clarets had only just hit form at the weekend after a dismal start, so losing this cup clash can’t be good for morale. In the absence of their Europa League campaign, this was a competition which could have brought a cup run for the Clarets. Instead, it’s just another setback for Sean Dyche and his men.

Bournemouth were able to keep their cup ambitions alive, as they won 3-2 against a strong Blackburn side. Rovers had made a splash in the Championship this season, and their strong display here was commendable. However, they couldn’t match the Cherries, who had Callum Wilson on to deliver their last minute winner. That’s a good result for Eddie Howe, who has been showing trophy ambitions over the last few years. Elsewhere, Roy Hodgson is another manager who is targeting a run in the cup, after his Crystal Palace side were 3-0 winners at West Brom. While there was a rest for Wilfred Zaha, the usual slump in form didn’t materialise.

Goal Friendly Week Around the Grounds

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It certainly wasn’t a bad week for goals in the Carabao Cup, as we saw some thrilling games. We got just shy of 60 goals this week, which worked out at nearly four goals per game. That average was exceeded at the City Ground, where Stoke’s struggles continued in a 3-2 defeat to Nottingham Forest. The home fans will love getting one over a former Derby boss, while Forest’s own promotion ambitions have been boosted with that result. We also got treated to a thrilling game at Adams Park, where Norwich were 4-3 winners against League One Wycombe.

Middlesbrough needed a penalty shoot-out to claim a victory, as they edged out Championship strugglers Preston. It was another difficult tie for Boro, due to Tony Pulis and his heavy rotation. He’s aiming for a Premier League place this season, so a Carabao Cup run isn’t that interesting to him. However, his side remain in the competition, along with Fulham.

The Cottagers were 3-1 winners at Millwall, a game which saw 15-year-old Harvey Elliot make his first start in a Fulham shirt. Even a side like Fulham feel the need to rotate here, but they at least managed to follow up their big changes with a victory which has taken them into the fourth round.

QPR were on the wrong end of an upset on Tuesday, as they lost 2-0 at Blackpool. The Seasiders have been in crisis for some time now, but even they were able to get one over Steve McClaren’s QPR side. That doesn’t bode well for his future at Loftus Road. Meanwhile, one of the rare all-Premier League ties was the most disappointing game of the bunch, as Wolves drew 0-0 with Leicester. The Foxes claimed a win on penalties to progress, with both sides suffering after making significant changes ahead of the next round of clashes in the Premier League.