Football Features

Carabao Cup action you may have missed as Wilshere & Morrison make long-awaited goal contributions

By Ben Green

Published: 22:02, 27 August 2019

It was a fascinating night of Carabao Cup Second Round action as Premier League clubs locked horns with teams from the Championship down to League Two.

Aston Villa made light work of Crewe Alexandra with a 6-1 win, as did Watford who put three past Coventry City and West Ham, who had little trouble easing past Newport County by two goals to nil.

Elsewhere, Southampton edged Fulham, Brighton left it late to beat Bristol Rovers, Sheffield United recovered from a late scare to nudge past Blackburn, Norwich City lost 1-0 to Crawley Town, while Crystal Palace were knocked out by Colchester United on penalties.

And so, with the Third Round draw set to unravel tomorrow night, what did we learn from this set of fixtures?

1. Antonio pulls up

With only eight minutes on the clock Michail Antonio pulled up with what appeared to be a hamstring injury, and from there, his night ended prematurely as he signalled to the bench to come off, making way for Felipe Anderson.

It could be argued that West Ham’s only positive halves of football this season have involved Antonio (first half versus Man City, second half versus Brighton and second half versus Watford) so this will be a bitter pill to swallow for Manuel Pellegrini.

The explosive winger is unique at West Ham in that he doesn’t possess the technical excellence of an Anderson, Manuel Lanzini or Pablo Fornals, but rather, an eruptive drive and unparalleled wing aggression, making him the perfect complement to the aforementioned creative trio.

Antonio has had previous with the blunting effects of hamstring injuries so this will come as an unwelcome sight to the Hammers, whose other wing options consist of two players who missed most of last season due to respective ruptured Achilles (Lanzini and Andriy Yarmolenko).

Make no mistake, this could have huge implications for West Ham’s season.

2. Wilshere off the mark

After 19 months without a goal Jack Wilshere has finally found the back of the net, doing so against Newport County this evening, and subsequently opening his account for West Ham in the process.

With the match heavily poised at Rodney Parade and the Exiles knocking on the door having missed a glorious chance through Padraig Amond, Wilshere sought to take matters into his own hands, and broke the deadlock via a solo effort just before half-time.

The midfield creator tried to play a ball forward to newcomer Albian Ajeti, but found his attempted pass intercepted by Kyle Howkins, who proceeded to get his wires crossed and, well, Wilshere took full advantage on the centre-back’s fumbling feet, stealing the ball before racing through and slotting home.

This was Wilshere’s first goal since netting for Arsenal against Chelsea in January 2018, and while it may not have been in front of 60,000 spectators in a fierce London Derby, it will be a moment the midfielder never forgets, especially considering it was his first League Cup goal in a decade.

3. Consecutive Konsa

Aston Villa’s summer signing Ezri Konsa made his debut tonight against Crewe Alexandra and it took him just four minutes to find the onion bag and net his first goal for his new club, which incidentally means he has now scored in successive matches – one for Brentford at the end of last season and one tonight.

Nominally a centre-back the 21-year-old was just one of 13 signings brought to Villa Park by Dean Smith, joining the Villans from Brentford for £12m after an exceptional maiden campaign at Griffin Park.

As Villa worked a cross into the box during the early stages of the match at the Alexandra Stadium, a mix up saw the ball loop up and Konsa duly capitalised, rising highest to breach the Railwaymen’s net as he subsequently opened the floodgates in what proved an absolute trouncing tonight – Villa’s largest margin in the League Cup since 2007.

4. Ravel Morrison back with a bang

Ravel Morrison made his first start for Sheffield United this evening in the Blades’ match against Blackburn Rovers, and he duly vindicated his starting position as the mercurial midfielder registered an assist for Oliver Norwood’s goal in the dying embers of the first-half.

The 28-year-old’s right-footed strike from outside the box ensured this was Morrison’s first goal contribution in English football since scoring against Nottingham Forest for Queens Park Rangers in April 2014 – a 5-2 win for the Rs.

Delving a little further, this was Morrison’s first goal contribution in the English League Cup since September 2013 in West Ham’s 3-2 win over Cardiff City.

He made his debut against Leicester City at the weekend and Chris Wilder will be hoping the tempestuous playmaker has now banished his past demons and can finally fulfil his undoubted potential.

5. Southampton’s precocious goalscorer

Michael Obafemi became the youngest goalscorer in the League Cup for Southampton since Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in 2010 after netting against Fulham in west London tonight, which ultimately proved to be the winning goal.

This was the Dublin-born marksman’s second goal for the club after he became Southampton’s youngest-ever goalscorer in the Premier League at just at 18 years and 169 days old last season, reaching another milestone tonight.

Aged 19 years and 52 days old, Obafemi has now become the first teenager to score in this competition for the Saints since Oxlade-Chamberlain, who nine years ago netted against Bournemouth at the age of 16.

6.  Watford’s record signing up and running

It has been an early season of woe for Watford, with Javi Gracia’s side having so far lost all three of their opening Premier League matches, but tonight offered a glimpse of better times to come at Vicarage Road after summer recruit and record signing Ismaila Sarr bagged a first goal for the club.

His 37th minute strike against Coventry paved the way for the 3-0 rout that followed, with another of the club’s prodigiously gifted forwards also opening his account, in Adalberto Penaranda.

Indeed this was a day for firsts across the board, but in Watford’s case, Gracia will be buoyed to alleviate some of the early frustration that has presided over his tenure; and he will now be hoping that this can serve as the catalyst in propelling the club back up the Premier League ladder.

This result also ended a horrific run of seven straight defeats across all competitions, stretching back to April.

7. Crawley Town make history

League Two side Crawley Town made history tonight by beating a top-flight club for the first time in any competition since the West Sussex outfit’s inception.

Daniel Farke made a number of changes for this match, shuffling the pack from his side’s narrow defeat to Chelsea at the weekend, but the XI still boasted the likes of Patrick Roberts, Ralf Fahrmann and Ibrahim Amadou.

Manager Gabriele Cioffi will take great joy from imprinting a momentous mark on the Reds’ history, etching his name into club folklore and doing so on home turf at the Broadfield Stadium.