It was another intense night of Carabao Cup Second Round action, as those who have progressed learnt their fates for Round Three.
On Tuesday night Premier League clubs had mixed luck in the competition with both Crystal Palace and Norwich City suffering elimination.
And tonight proved equally challenging for those in the top-flight as Burnley buckled against Sunderland, while Everton were made to work for a 4-2 thriller against Lincoln City. Elsewhere Bournemouth needed penalties to beat Forest Green thanks to three saves from Mark Travers, while Leicester also won in a shootout against Premier League opposition in Newcastle.
With all 33 teams now confirmed for the third phase of this traditional knockout tournament, the balls have finally been drawn, and they’ve offered up some mouth-watering fixtures. So without further ado, here is the Carabao Cup Round Three draw:
Wolves v Reading
Oxford v West Ham
Watford v Swansea City
Brighton v Aston Villa
Sheffield United v Sunderland
Colchester v Tottenham
Portsmouth v Southampton
Burton v AFC Bournemouth
Preston v Manchester City
MK Dons v Liverpool
Manchester United v Rochdale
Luton v Leicester City
Chelsea v Grimsby Town / Macclesfield Town
Sheffield Wednesday v Everton
Arsenal v Nottingham Forest
Crawley v Stoke
The foundation has been laid for an exciting Round Three, but what might you have missed from tonight’s Round Two action?
1. Don’t blink!
Within one minute of this round of fixtures taking place two teams had already raced into an early lead: Lincoln City and Swansea City.
With just 18 seconds on the clock, the Imps stunned Everton courtesy of an well-executed Harry Anderson strike, with the 22-year-old midfielder directing the ball past Jordan Pickford having been brilliantly picked out by Jack Payne.
There were suspicions of offside against Bruno Andrade, but with no VAR, Danny Cowley’s side took full advantage of the situation and sent the Sincil Bank terraces into raptures.
Further South-West, there was also a waspish start at the Liberty Stadium with former Liverpool academy product Kristoffer Peterson netted his first goal for Swansea in their bout against Cambridge United.
It came 30 seconds later than Lincoln’s, but like the Imps, it was also their first attack and first attempt on goal, with the Swede tucking home from just 12 yards out.
2. Burnley boy back with a bang
Local lad and academy product Jay Rodriguez has scored his first Burnley goal since returning to the club in the summer, firing a cool finish against Sunderland in the 11th minute. This was the 30-year-old’s first goal in over seven years for the Clarets, with his last coming against Crystal Palace in 2012.
He’s had to sit back so far this campaign as Ashley Barnes has stolen the headlines, while Chris Wood has accompanied the insatiable No 10 up top, but tonight on his first start at Turf Moor since signing from West Brom, the Burnley-born marksman made a statement and has given manager Sean Dyche something of a managerial headache when he comes to select his starting XI for the match against Liverpool this weekend.
3. Graham Potter who?
Graham Potter garnered a reputation for his free-flowing brand of football with Swansea last season, and that style of play has thus far borne fruit with Brighton, but under summer appointment Steve Cooper the Welsh outfit are scoring at a ridiculous rate.
Tonight they dismantled Cambridge by six goals to nil, meaning the Swans have now netted three or more goals in each of their last five matches, amassing 18 goals in the process with three Championship wins as well as two Carabao Cup victories.
That run started in the previous round of this competition against Northampton, while they have since struck nine (three apiece) past Preston, QPR and Birmingham respectively. Cooper has certainly remedied the void left by Potter already, with Swansea the first club to take a five-goal scoreline into the break of this competition since Leeds United in 2008.
4. Southgate are you watching?
James Maddison has picked up where he left off last season, registering two Premier League assists in three games and now opening his account for the campaign with a free-kick that took a wicked deflection to wrong-foot Karl Darlow at St James’ Park.
Quite how the Leicester City talisman – who created the most Premier League chances last season with 100 – has so far been overlooked by Gareth Southgate is astonishing when considering some of the players who have made his squads in recent years.
The England manager announces his latest squad for Euro 2020 qualifiers on Thursday, and Maddison’s inclusion should be set in stone if his early season form is anything to go by – already in 2019/20 he has completed the second-most take-ons (11) in the Premier League, while only Harry Wilson has netted more direct free-kicks since the start of last season (six) than Maddison (four) across English football’s top four divisions – oh, and how about that ‘Panenka’?
While we’re on the subject of free-kicks, Everton’s Lucas Digne deserves a special mention for his delectable curling effort against Lincoln – a true masterpiece.
5. Atsu with another early introduction
Christian Atsu made a premature introduction in north London on Sunday as summer signing Allan Saint-Maximin hobbled off against Tottenham with a first half injury, and Steve Bruce had to turn to the diminutive winger once again in the opening 45 minutes with Matt Ritchie forced to leave to field after a heavy challenge with Leicester’s Hamza Choudhury.
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Having assisted Joelinton for the winning goal against the Lilywhites, Atsu would have been forgiven for feeling aggrieved at having found his position on the bench once again, but he is proving to be a trusty cog in Bruce’s Tyneside machine when called upon.
Ritchie is imperative to the three-at-the-back system which flourished under predecessor Rafa Benitez and has since been taken up by Bruce, so any long-term injury to the auxiliary left wing-back could prove detrimental, but in Atsu, the Magpies have a versatile player capable of slotting in wherever necessary.
6. Fifteen frantic minutes
With 35 minutes on the clock Burnley were in cruise control: they led Sunderland 1-0 and had hit both posts. However, the ensuing 15 minutes would see the game completely turned on its head as the Black Cats struck three past the hosts.
English football’s cult hero Will Grigg ignited the road to recovery after striking with just 10 minutes before the interval, while centre-back Tom Flanagan capitalised on a Joe Hart clanger to head home just after the restart.
Jack Ross’ side would have been forgiven for sitting back and parking the bus against Premier League opposition, but they went searching for a third and were rewarded for their efforts after George Dobson scored from another corner – very unlike a Dyche side.
7. Jetro Willems with the dive of the season
Eintracht Frankfurt loanee Jetro Willems will feel somewhat relieved that Yoshinori Muto tucked home mere seconds after he produced a dive that would have won Gold at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo next year, taking the spotlight off him if only for a few moments.
As the Netherlands international raced through on goal he took the opportunity to showcase his best impression of a salmon to the Tyneside audience, leaping into the air upon the slightest contact from Foxes full-back Ricardo Pereira – it was footballing theatrics at its finest…
— True Faith NUFC (@tfNUFC) August 28, 2019
And it’s safe to say the Toon Army saw the funny side…
— battlehillsubway (@battlehillsubw1) August 28, 2019
LOL, that assist from Jetro is sick. Never seen anything like that! Haha. #NUFC
— #NUFC Portal (@NufcPortal) August 28, 2019
So far, I've watched the goal about ten times and still haven't seen the goal. Can't. Stop. Watching. Jetro. #NUFC
— Toon Army America (@ToonArmyAmerica) August 28, 2019
8. Pickford’s full-pitch prance & Harvey Barnes eat your heart out
Instead of celebrating with the travelling Evertonians having just put the Toffees in the lead via a spot-kick, Gylfi Sigurdsson opted to dash and retrieve the ball from the back of the net as if trying to get the game back underway as quickly as possible – with the scoreline clocked at 2-1 in Everton’s favour, this seemed bemusing.
Naturally, a mini-brawl ensued as the Lincoln players tried to get the ball off the Icelandic, and well, Jordan Pickford decided the sprint from his own goal line across the entire turf to ruffle up a few feathers…
HAHA YES PICkFORD pic.twitter.com/OqkkZpPUtF
— mgannEFC (@mgannEFC01) August 28, 2019
If the viewing at the Lincoln end was rather unclean, then there was nothing grubby about what occurred moments later at the Everton end as Bruno Andrade channeled his inner Harvey Barnes to detonate a bullet strike to level proceedings.
This game truly had it all: world class strikes (Digne’s was also exceptional), drama, bookings, debut goals, scuffles and a cracking atmosphere.