Getty Images

EFL Cup wrap: Swansea, Palace fall; 18-year-old plays Arsenal hero

Leave a comment

A pair of Premier League teams fell in Carabao Cup action, while another barely survived as the quarterfinals of the competition are nearly set.

[ MORE: Madrid not interested in signing Kane, they say ]

Swansea City was thoroughly beaten by Manchester United on a pair of Jesse Lingard goals, while struggling Crystal Palace was beaten heavily by Championship side Bristol City despite an early 1-0 lead. Meanwhile, Arsenal just squeaked by Norwich City with the help of a young hero, scoring a late goal to force extra time before winning things early in the added period.

Manchester City failed to score, but would advance on penalties thanks to the help of their veterans.


Swansea City 0-2 Manchester United

Jesse Lingard came into the squad and got back on the scoresheet with a simple finish 21 minutes in to complete the play started by a skillful flick from Marcus Rashford. That goal sent the Red Devils through, but Lingard would complete his brace after halftime on a spectacular header, connecting with Matteo Darmian‘s cross just inside the top of the box for a long-range strike.

Arsenal 2-1 Norwich City (AET)

Arsenal started a mostly second-choice lineup in their home Cup match, and it almost backfired massively. Josh Murphy struck for Norwich just past the half-hour mark, getting loose through the central defenders on a fast-break and chipping goalkeeper Matt Macey to stun the Emirates.

Needing a hero, 18-year-old striker Eddie Nketiah – an Arsenal academy product – came off the bench for his second pro appearance in the 85th minute and struck an astonishing 15 seconds later, poking home after Francis Coquelin had flicked the ball in front of net with his head from a corner.

Nketiah wasn’t done, bagging the winner on a header six minutes into extra time, powering the ball into the top corner off a set-piece a la Olivier Giroud. Fun fact: Nketiah is the first player born after Arsene Wenger took charge at Arsenal to score a goal for the Gunners. Yay for everyone feeling old!

Bournemouth 3-1 Middlesbrough

Callum Wilson hit from the penalty spot in the 75th minute to give Bournemouth a spot in the quarterfinals. The referee had pointed to the spot after Dael Fry fouled Jack Simpson on a corner, and Wilson buried the chance to put Bournemouth through. Benik Afobe added the Cherries’ third with seven minutes to go.

Wilson’s winner came after Simpson and Marcus Tavernier had cancelled each other out following a scoreless first half.

Bristol City 4-1 Crystal Palace

Former Wolves winger Bakary Sako put Crystal Palace in front early, but the Championship side Bristol City cancelled out the Eagles’ lead before halftime through Matty Taylor. Five minutes later, Palace would find themselves walking into halftime down a goal as substitute Milan Djuric would poke the ball home on a scrum in the box following a long throw.

Joe Bryan gave Bristol City a third after halftime to ensure Palace’s misery on the hour mark, and Callum O’Dowda added on a fourth.

Leicester City 2-1 Leeds United

Islam Slimani was the hero as the Foxes prevailed over Championship side Leeds United in a come-from-behind win at the King Power Stadium. He touched home on a cross from Kelechi Iheanacho following a through-ball from Vicente Ibarro.

Pablo Hernandez put Leeds in front 26 minutes in, but the lead only lasted till the half-hour mark when Iheanacho struck to bring Leeds back level, catching Leeds goalkeeper Felix Weidwald out of position.

Manchester City 0-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers (City wins 4-2 on penalties)

Championship leaders Wolves frustrated a decently strong Manchester City side all night, and with the game scoreless all the way through extra time despite 25 Manchester City shots – but just six on target – we went to penalties.

Claudio Bravo saved efforts from Alfred N'Diaye and Conor Coady, while Kevin De Bruyne, Yaya Toure, Leroy Sane, and Sergio Aguero were all successful from the spot to send Manchester City through

Premier League most underrated XI

Getty Images
Leave a comment

On Twitter, we asked Premier League fans to submit their choice for most underrated player in the English top flight right now. There were a host of fascinating answers, with plenty of different teams represented.

Tottenham and Liverpool players appeared a lot, not surprising given they reached the Champions League final but have just a handful of true superstars on the roster, with Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino preferring to put together a squad that plays as a greater whole than the sum of its parts.

So, with that in mind, we thought we should take it one step further and put together a full-blown starting XI of underrated Premier League players.

While putting these together, obviously being just five matches, prior seasons are of course taken into account, but this season’s early performances are also heavily weighed. Behold, our most underrated players all together in one squad. How well would these lineups perform in the league?

Our Premier League Underrated XI’s

Kyle Bonn: [ ]

Kasper Schmeichel

Ricardo PereiraJoel MatipWilly BolyLucas Digne

Declan Rice — Ruben Neves —

— Emiliano Buendia — James MaddisonHeung-Min Son

Roberto Firmino —

Nicholas Mendola: [ ]

Bernd Leno

Aaron Wan-Bissaka — Willy Boly — Tyrone Mings — Ricardo Pereira —

Harry WinksFabinho

— Heung-Min Son — James Maddison — Felipe Anderson

Callum Wilson

Daniel Karell: [ ]

Angus Gunn

Matt DohertyMaya YoshidaYerry MinaPatrick Van Aanholt

Todd CantwellManuel LanziniJack GrealishRyan Fraser

— Callum Wilson — Raul Jimenez —

The highlights

Heung-Min Son was probably the most often mentioned name in our Twitter question, and so he earns a spot on two of the lineups. A number of Liverpool players also cropped up, and Bonn responded with the inclusion of do-it-all striker Roberto Firmino and defender Joel Matip, who often finds himself in Virgil Van Dijk‘s shadow but has risen from injury substitute to regular starter.

Also appearing twice are Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson, Wolves center-back Willy Boly, Leicester City midfielder James Maddison, and Foxes full-back Ricardo Peirera. Otherwise, the writers all went in their own directions!

Jack Grealish is mentioned on Karrell’s list, and he has already proven a divisive topic amongst our writers. Mendola included Reds midfielder Fabinho while also singing the praises of West Ham attacker Felipe Anderson who is doing his best to make up for the departure of Marko Arnautovic. The Hammers also appear on Karrell’s lineup with Manuel Lanzini, who owns two assists on the young season. Many folks may still be learning Emiliano Buendia’s name, but the young Argentine has been the brains behind Teemu Pukki‘s breakout season at the head of the Norwich attack.

Manchester United full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka is mentioned, although is he really underrated after moving for $60 million this summer? Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves could lay claim to the label as the best player outside the Premier League top six clubs, although Declan Rice might claim he’s not even the best midfielder. Who is a bang-on starter for your most underrated Premier League squad?

Liverpool CEO stays with fan at hospital

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Liverpool CEO Peter Moore visited and stayed with a Reds fan at the hospital after the fan collapsed during the club’s Champions League visit to Napoli due to loss of blood.

According to a post on social media passed on from a Liverpool forum, Liverpool fan Steven Allen was taken to Ospedale Cardarelli hospital in Naples after collapsing at halftime due to blood loss sustained after he was “ambushed” during pre-match celebrations at a bar by Napoli fans. Merseyside police did confirm that two UK men age 26 and 46 sustained injuries in a pre-match assault, but did not confirm Allen was one of them.

Moore posted on Twitter that he was with the fan at the hospital and would be staying with him until he was satisfied with the level of care he was receiving. The Liverpool executive initially expressed concern at the medical staff’s “distinct lack of urgency” but later posted an update to say the situation had been handled and that Allen “had been seen and will be monitored throughout the night.”

While not confirmed, it appears that Moore may have been initially alerted to the situation by his Twitter account being tagged in the shared post and decided to help a fan struggling in a foreign country.

An unidentified Liverpool fan who claimed to witness the bar attack told the Liverpool Echo, “We were just trying to have a quiet drink before going to the apartment and had just paid our bar bill. Next minute we could see about 10 scooters flying down. They slowed right down and their faces were covered with scarves and helmets. Next second they are jumping off swinging belts towards us. Must have all happened in 90 seconds but some lad got hit by a belt.”

Liverpool lost the match 2-0 on a pair of second-half goals by the home side.

Lascelles admits Newcastle in for “long, tough season”

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles admits the players are prepared for a difficult campaign after dropping into the relegation zone early in the season.

After a third defeat in their first five Premier League matches, falling 3-1 to leaders Liverpool, the English defender labeled the upcoming match against Brighton & Hove Albion “our biggest game yet” and admitted this season could provide some trying times. “We have had a tough run at the start of the season, tough for any team. So it is going to be a long tough season. Ie have a good 11, a good squad and a lot of bodies. When we start finding the net we will get going.”

Newcastle will be buoyed by the knowledge that of those three losses, two came against Liverpool and Arsenal while the third came against a red-hot Norwich City side. The Magpies also topped Champions League finalists Spurs 1-0 and managed a draw against a struggling Watford side before falling to Liverpool last time out.

“We were in a decent position, a win against Spurs and draw against Watford,” Lascelles said after the Liverpool loss. “Now we need to push and get three points against Brighton. These games are six pointers at home to Brighton, we have to fancy ourselves. They will be big competition for us and Saturday is the right time to do that.”

Lascelles admitted that while the defensive form is a struggle at the moment having conceded eight goals through the first five matches with just one clean sheet – the win over Spurs – everyone is hoping to chip in up front as well, an attacking mentality that flows through the team. “We’re not happy conceding three against Norwich and Liverpool,” Lascelles said. “We are getting chances and creating a lot. When a couple of people start scoring the goals will be flowing and we have had a couple injured as well. It is important we all chip in with goals. I’d like to get a few. Fab [Schar] is a goal scoring centre half. He puts important points on the board. If we and midfielders can help out we will get to 40 points sooner than later.”

Lampard, players look to play down Chelsea penalty incident

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard and his players have come together in hopes of playing down the incident at the end of the game that led up to Ross Barkley‘s fateful missed penalty late in the 1-0 Champions League loss to Valencia on Tuesday.

Barkley appeared to take the ball off a host of other Blues players who wished to take the penalty, with Willian and Jorginho looking the most vocal. Jorginho conceded rather quickly, but Willian was more insistent in his wish to take the spot-kick, pulling up his socks in front of Barkley before finally conceding.

[ Azpilicueta also backs Barkley ]

According to Lampard, Barkley was indeed the designated penalty taker and his assistance was within protocol. “Ross is the penalty taker,” Lampard said in the post-match press conference. “He was pre-season, scored a couple, has been when he started, and was today when he came on and he missed it, clear story.”

“I don’t know what the conversation was,” Lampard continued about the confrontation, “but Jorginho and Willian were penalty takers on the pitch, but when Ross comes on he’s the penalty taker, and he’s missed it.”

[ MORE: Recap, 3 things from Chelsea loss ]

Barkley confirmed this as well after the match. “We’ve got a lot of good penalty-takers in the squad,” said Barkley. “On a sheet in the changing room, it says I’m on penalties when I’m on the pitch, otherwise it’s Jorginho.”

Willian, who was far more demonstrative on the pitch about taking the penalty, said he was disappointed to miss out, but he stands behind his teammate. “I wanted to take it but he (Barkley) was confident to take it. This is football. He missed the penalty but it could be me that missed, or Jorginho or whoever. So football is like this. But when we win, we win together, and when we lose, we lose together.”