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Carabao Cup quarterfinal draw: Big boys kept apart

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The draw for the quarterfinals of the 2017-18 Carabao Cup (League Cup) has been made and the Premier League giants who remain have avoided each other.

After energy drinks company Carabao had issues streaming the draw live via Twitter, the draw was delayed by almost two hours and a recorded video of the draw was released.

There’s no doubting the tie of the round is Arsenal hosting West Ham United in a London derby at the Emirates Stadium.

Leicester City host Manchester City, while holders Manchester United head to the only non-Premier League remaining in the competition, Bristol City, and Chelsea host Bournemouth.

Games will be played the week of December 18.


Carabao Cup quarterfinal schedule

Arsenal vs. West Ham United
Bristol City vs. Manchester United
Chelsea vs. Bournemouth
Leicester City vs. Manchester City

Everton caretaker Unsworth “very proud” of fight vs. Chelsea

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David Unsworth‘s first game in charge of Everton could have gone worse.

The Toffees kept Chelsea on its toes for 90 minutes, even controlling play for stretches against the reigning champs in the first match since Ronald Koeman was fired.

[ MORE: Latest in Crew relocation saga ]

Though Wednesday’s League Cup match ended 2-1 in favor of Chelsea, Everton looked much better than it had in recent weeks. From EvertonFC.com:

“Hopefully we will be as committed as that in every game that I am in charge of,” he said.

“We started with a great display tonight but we want to know go and start a winning streak. But when I see and hear older pros helping the young lads out like they did, then it makes me quite excited to take us forward and work with everybody. We had a game plan and the players stuck to that. I am very proud of them. Nobody likes losing but I saw so much to work with in a great, committed performance.”

The Toffees got a surprise performance in the center of the park from a player many hadn’t heard of prior to Wednesday: 19-year-old Beni Baningime. The Congolese midfielder had played with Unsworth in the U-23s, and was forced into the fray when Morgan Schneiderlin fell ill.

Everton goes to Leicester City this weekend in what’s essentially an (way too) early season relegation six pointer before a trip to Lyon in the UEFA Europa League. Watford and Crystal Palace follow, so getting sorted is not improbable for the Toffees.

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Ayew credits Bilic for comeback: “The coach had the words”

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West Ham United may have helped embattled manager Slaven Bilic flip the script on its poor season, and striker Andre Ayew says the boss deserves plenty of credit for the Irons’ fight back on Wednesday.

The Irons trailed London rivals Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 at halftime before a 15-minute span saw Ayew score twice and Angelo Ogbonna snare a winner to send West Ham into the League Cup quarterfinals.

[ RECAP: Spurs 2-3 West Ham | Pochettino reacts ]

“We stayed confident,” Ayew said. “We were down but the coach had the words. I want to congratulate the whole team, it’s a massive win.”

It could well be. The Irons have struggled mightily this season, Bilic’s third season with the club. After leading West Ham to the Europa League in Year One, West Ham finished 11th last season before spending big on Marko Arnautovic, Joe Hart, and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez amongst others.

Hopes were high, but the Irons have scored just eight Premier League goals and sit 16th this season.

Now, thanks to the comeback, West Ham is three wins from a spot in Europe. So they’ve got that going for them, which is nice. From the BBC:

“We reacted in the most brilliant way. To score three goals against them, who do not concede goals, then be brave and compact and good on the ball, we deserved it and it is a big boost for us.”

Vibes will be positive ahead of what is a surprisingly big match against Crystal Palace this weekend, but it doesn’t get much easier for West Ham: Liverpool home, Watford away, Leicester home, Everton away, Man City away, Chelsea home, Arsenal home.

[ MORE: Potential League Cup draws ]

If the momentum, whatever that can mean, continues, West Ham may just surprise and build its Premier League record alongside this League Cup run. Or, of course, it can just be one win sandwiched between an embarrassing home loss to Brighton and Hove Albion and whatever happens at Palace.

But Bilic’s boys got it right on Wednesday. On to the next.

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League Cup quarterfinalists set: What are the juiciest draws?

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The League Cup is down to its final eight clubs, with several Premier League giants angling for their first bit of hardware this season.

Arsenal will be looking for its second, having won the Community Shield, and is joined in the quarterfinals by West Ham United, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Bournemouth, Leicester City, and Bristol City.

[ MORE: Latest in Crew relocation saga ]

The Irons knocked Spurs out of the tournament on Wednesday, eliminating the chance for a North London Derby. There are still some terrific possibilities for Thursday’s quarterfinal draw.

Here are our favorite ideas:

Keep ’em separated — A draw that keeps the big boys away from each other gives us much better odds on a huge final, or two big semifinals legs in January (Coincidentally, this is also wanted by Spurs and Liverpool in the hopes of schedule congestion for their Top Four opponents). That would be something like:

Arsenal vs. Bristol City
Chelsea vs. Leicester City
Manchester United vs. Bournemouth
Manchester City vs. West Ham United

Derby Day(s) and Cinderella clearances — The flip side would put those glamorous match-ups in the quarterfinals, set for late November.

Manchester City vs. Manchester United
Arsenal vs. Chelsea
West Ham United vs. Bristol City
Leicester City vs. Bournemouth

A good mix — In this draw, we’ll keep United and City apart to ensure the first Manchester Derby of the year remains in the Premier League (Dec. 10), but still give the world a London Derby.

Chelsea vs. Arsenal
Manchester City vs. Bristol City
Manchester United vs. Bournemouth
West Ham United vs. Leicester City

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Spurs: Pochettino lays League Cup blame on Real Madrid, Liverpool results

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Mauricio Pochettino was bitter after Tottenham Hotspur tossed aside a 2-0 home lead and a berth in the League Cup quarterfinals.

Andre Ayew scored twice and Angelo Ogbonna headed home a winner for West Ham, all goals coming in a 15-minute span, to send the Wembley Stadium crowd away unhappy.

[ RECAP: Spurs 2-3 West Ham ]

Pochettino wasn’t trying to put shine on the performance, as Spurs were very much in control of the match at the break to the point where anyone who checked out will be bewildered at the final score.

The manager says, frankly, Spurs were too full of themselves.

“That can’t happen. When you are not on the same mental level it is difficult. The opponent had nothing to lose, they started to believe and we started to suffer. Maybe we thought the job was done. The second half was not the same and it is difficult to accept.

“After Real Madrid and Liverpool it was difficult to keep the motivation and concentration. We must be more mature at 2-0 up, that is disappointing. It is not good to lose, always, I am not happy.”

With neither Harry Kane nor Christian Eriksen in the Starting XI, Spurs still looked capable of coasting to a win. The problem is they tried to coast, and a desperate Hammers unit punished them.

The reasoning is understandable, even if it’s surprising Pochettino was so up front about it. Old Trafford is next on Saturday, and now two stung teams will enter the stadium.

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