Tuesday, May 24, 2022

EFL Cup scores: Manchester City cruise after early scare, 16-year-old makes Liverpool debut; Everton crash out

The first day of EFL Cup third round fixtures is done and dusted with big wins for Manchester City, Liverpool and Brentford in the docket. Their fellow Premier League side Burnley survived what would have been a major shock against League Two Rochdale but Watford were not successful as Josh Tymon’s cross shot earned Championship high flyers Stoke City a 3-1 win at Watford.

They were not the only top-tier side to exit in the third round as Seny Dieng saved Tom Davies’ penalty, sending Everton crashing out in a shootout away to Queens Park Rangers.

Tuesday’s results

  • Brentford 7, Oldham Athletic 0
  • Burnley 4, Rochdale 1
  • Fulham 0, Leeds United 0 (Leeds win 6-5 on penalties)
  • Manchester City 6, Wycombe Wanderers 1
  • Norwich City 0, Liverpool 3
  • Preston North End 4, Cheltenham Town 1
  • Queens Park Rangers 2, Everton 2 (QPR win 8-7 on penalties)
  • Sheffield United 2, Southampton 2 (Southampton win 4-2 on penalties)
  • Watford 1, Stoke City 3
  • Wigan Athletic 0, Sunderland 2

Manchester City survive early scare to thrash Wycombe

The winning juggernaut that is Manchester City in the EFL Cup rolled on past League One side Wycombe Wanderers but for just a moment it seemed that Gareth Ainsworth’s side might accomplish what few others have against Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden and company. It was not an entirely experienced side named by Pep Guardiola for the third round. The back four and defensive midfielder was made up entirely of debutants: CJ Egan-Riley, Luke Mbete, Fin Burns, Josh Wilson-Esbrand and Romeo Lavia.

Perhaps that explained why there was so little sign of organization when a Wycombe corner pin-balled around the penalty area in the 23rd minute before Ryan Tafazolli showed the composure to square for Brandon Hanlan, whose first goal as a Wycombe Wanderers player came against the English champions.

It did not take long for City to strike back as Foden and De Bruyne combined before the latter struck low across David Stockdale. Wycombe could only hold out for so long and by halftime the tie looked to be done as Riyad Mahrez and Foden found the net just before the interval. The England international’s goal was particularly impressive, a ferociously hit drive from the right corner of the box.

Foden continued to torment the opponents in the second half, providing another assist as Ferran Torres got in on the scoring act before Mahrez added a fifth. Cole Palmer got in on the act late on, scoring his first City goal in some style. Ultimately Wycombe were perhaps always destined to fall short against such a star-studded attack but, separated by 34 places on the English footballing pyramid from their opponent, the Chairboys could be proud to at least have given City a fright.

Future stars make immediate Liverpool impact

On a 15-game losing streak in the Premier League, Norwich could really have done with the morale boost that the EFL Cup might have provided. You could have forgiven Daniel Farke and his side for thinking “here we go again” when they were able to retain parity with a weakened Liverpool side for just over three minutes before lax marking at a corner allowed Takumi Minamino to swivel and drive into the net.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp had opted to play several youngsters alongside experienced fringe players such as Minamino, most notably handing a debut to 16-year-old Kaide Gordon, a footballer younger than Kanye West’s The College Dropout or Arcade Fire’s Funeral. After the last 18 months the last thing that anyone needed was to be made to feel so old, particularly as the young midfielder was one of a string of prospects in red who did their hopes of a long-term future at Anfield no harm at all with an impressively mature, inventive display.

Gordon’s debut would also have brought no little celebration at Derby County. The Championship club, who last week called in administrators as their financial woes deepened, will receive £100,000 now that their academy product has made his Liverpool debut.

On the pitch, Norwich had their chance to draw level when Dimitris Giannoulis was fouled by youngster Conor Bradley. However on his 10th senior appearance Caoimhin Kelleher came up trumps, blocking the ball with a flick of his trailing left leg when Christos Tzolis tried to roll the ball down the middle. The 22-year-old is developing something of a record for penalty heroics in this competition having emerged victorious from a shootout against Arsenal two seasons ago.

In midfield Curtis Jones was unsurprisingly impressive having established himself as a valuable player for Klopp last season and seemed to relish a deeper role with Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The second half begun much as the first had, Divock Origi doubling the Reds’ lead after five minutes as he diverted Kostas Tsimikas’ cross beyond Angus Gunn. Minamino added a third to heighten his case for further opportunities in the strongest Liverpool side. For Norwich another bruising defeat makes for a worrying start to the season.

Forss fires four as Frank finds fourth round

Finnish striker Marcus Forss has been forced to settle for a largely peripheral role so far in Brentford’s debut Premier League season but he will hope that his quartet of goals in a 6-0 win over League Two Oldham Athletic earns him more than the four minutes of top-flight action he has received so far. The 22-year-old had his hat trick before the first half was out, an even more impressive feat considering no Brentford player had ever scored three goals in any of the previous 156 games they had played in the competition.

Thomas Frank was able to name a mostly rotated side for the third round tie and it was not just Forss who impressed. Summer signing Yoanne Wissa scored his second goal in as many EFL Cup matches before adding a third in the 87th minute whilst Myles Peart-Harris made his first appearance since arriving from Chelsea in the summer.

Remarkably Forss was not the only player to score four on Tuesday with Burnley’s Jay Rodriguez turning around a deficit against League Two Rochdale. Three minutes after Jake Beesley opened the scoring for the visitors at Turf Moor, Rodriguez brought the two sides level. Within 27 minutes he had four to his name, one more than he scored in the entirety of the 2020-21 season.

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