Friday, 27 September 2013

Capital One Cup 3rd Round Match Review + Analysis:

The 2013-14 Capital One Cup 3rd Round has begun, with 32 clubs still in the competition.

This past Tuesday and Wednesday, the footballing world took a one-week break from the UEFA Champions League and Europa League (both European competitions which have just started their 2013-14 campaign this year) as domestic cups took their bow and began the "3rd round proper" with many EPL sides and Championship teams involved.

I have analysis + match reviews from all the big games over the past couple of days surrounding EPL teams, enjoy: 

Tuesday's games:

Aston Villa 0 Tottenham Hotspur 4
This game was played at Villa Park, in one of the many all-EPL ties being played on Tuesday night. The first half was dull, but England striker Jermain Defoe broke the deadlock in the 45th minute just before half-time with a headed finish from German midfielder Lewis Holtby's cross into the box. 

Holtby got his second assist of the game 4 minutes after the start of the second half, with a corner delivered perfectly into the box for Brazillian defensive midfielder Paulinho to smash into the bottom corner of the net. 

Belgian winger Nacer Chadli made it 3-0 in the 85th minute to score his first goal in a Spurs shirt, before Defoe scored his second of the night to rub salt into the wounds of the Villa side whose night went from bad to terrible in a matter of minutes. 

Hull City 1 Huddersfield 0
The newly-promoted Hull City side won with a slender 1-0 win at home against lowly Huddersfield, thanks to a goal by Nick Proschwitz in the 59th minute. They progress to the 4th Round, and will play against Tottenham Hotspur (more on the draw at the end of the blog post) 

Manchester City 5 Wigan Athletic 0
A bit of payback for City after their embarrassing 1-0 loss in the FA Cup final back in May to Wigan, who were relegated in the same season. A cup run is looking more and more unlikely for the FA Cup holders after they were completely dominated and thrashed 5-0 by the title contenders Manchester City. 

Southampton 2 Bristol City 0 
This game was played at St Mary's Stadium, as Southampton hosted Npower League 1 side Bristol City in a clear mis-match in terms of quality.

The hosts comfortably won the game 2-0, with goals from midfielder Gaston Ramirez (in the 15th minute) and defender Jos Hooiveld (after 83 minutes)  

Sunderland 2 Peterborough United 0 
This was officially Sunderland's first game since the departure of Italian manager Paolo Di Canio, who was sacked on Sunday night after a poor run of results culminating with a 3-0 away loss to West Brom (with their former key midfielder scoring on his debut against them) 

They were being managed by caretaker manager Kevin Ball, and goals by Giaccherini and Roberge sealed the unsurprising victory for the home side. 

Swindon Town 0 Chelsea 2
Lower league Swindon hosted Chelsea in the 3rd Round match-up, however the away side had no real problems dispatching their League 1 opponents thanks to goals from Fernando Torres and Ramires in the first half.

Sliding finish: Torres broke the deadlock in the 29th minute with a sliding effort. 

Breakthrough: Torres has been under harsh criticism over his goalscoring record, but he still scores..

Swindon did their best to try and challenge their EPL opponents, but The Blues were too strong for them and progress to the 4th Round where they play against ...... (you'll find out later)

Not all was good for Chelsea, despite key players Juan Mata and David Luiz both making their first starts for the side since Mourinho took charge.

Spot them: Mata and Luiz have been sitting on the Chelsea bench for the most part so far this season. Do they deserve to be there?

Obviously not: They were finally given a chance - in a less important game after intense criticism

Dutch midfielder Marco van Ginkel was stretchered off the pitch after just 7 minutes, with a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) which will keep him out of action for at least 6 months.  

Unfortunate: van Ginkel was given a chance to prove his worth, but got injured early on
Success: van Ginkel said that he "will be back" after the ACL surgery was successful.

Watford 2 Norwich City 3
Late drama involving Norwich, with English striker Gary Hooper scoring a late winner in the 115th minute, in extra-time after another late goal in the 5th minute of normal stoppage time to allow Norwich to progress through to the 4th Round, while avoiding a near miss with a possible shock exit on the cards against Championship side Watford who played well at home and also scored two goals (either side of half-time) 

West Ham United 3 Cardiff City 2
Another 3-2 victory, this time for West Ham at Upton Park in another all EPL tie. A late winner by wantaway Portguese striker Ricardo Vaz Te (who ironically put in a written transfer request just before transfer deadline day) gave West Ham a dramatic 3-2 win in a great game of football. 

English midfielder and former Manchester United youngster Ravel Morrison scored his second goal in two games after just a minute of play to give the hosts the lead, before winger Matthew Jarvis made it 2-0 7 minutes later. Cardiff were not down and out, with Craig Noone halving the deficit just before half-time and Odemwingie equalised with a quarter of an hour left to play. Then Vaz Te stepped up with minutes to play to score a late winner and give West Ham a place in the 4th Round.  

Fulham 2 Everton 1 
Slight surprise victory for Fulham, with strikers Berbatov and Bent ruling out Scottish forward Steven Naismith's early opener after 12 minutes for The Toffees. Everton deserved to go ahead after thoroughly dominating the first half with some good teamwork play thanks to Deulofeu and Lukaku. However, the hosts took advantage of a slender 1-0 lead and Fulham made them pay with 2 goals in 15 minutes from the forward duo (Berba and Bent) to give Fulham their first home win in just under 6 months. 

Wednesday's games:

Birmingham City 3 Swansea City 1
The scoreline does not reflect the game as a whole, with Swansea crashing out in the 3rd Round to a young Birmingham (and Championship) side. Both sides had chances to break the deadlock early on, but admittedly Swansea had the better chances. 

Young Spanish midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo hit the crossbar, and Ivorian striker Wilfried Bony missed two clear-cut opportunities in the first half. Winger Roland Lamah was deadly on the wing, using his pace and good dribbling to confuse the Birmingham defence into tackling him (and almost giving away penalties on numerous occasions, lucky they didn't - lenient refereeing)

Defender Dan Burn opened the scoring for the hosts in the 57th minute with a power header past Tremmel, before striker Matt Green made it 2-0 4 minutes later. Against the run of play? Yes.

Swansea were starting to realise that their Capital One Cup campaign was gradually slipping away from them at this point, and due to frustration they kept losing possession and giving away needless fouls. 

Then it went from bad to worse for Michael Laudrup's men, with Tom Adeyemi making it 3-0 with just over 10 minutes to play. The fact that The Swans were so unlucky that they could not score for 80 minutes just virtually killed all hope of a comeback, and even though Bony finally got on the scoresheet in the 5th minute of stoppage time it was only a consolation goal for a side who deserved more out of the game but were unlucky. 

Manchester United 1 Liverpool 0
Part 2 of the United vs Liverpool derby match, after their narrow 1-0 encounter two weeks ago in the EPL, Manchester United were desperate to get revenge. The main story going into this game was one player: Luis Suarez. 
The Uruguayan striker returned to Liverpool first-team football for the first time since April (when he bit Ivanovic and got a 10-match ban), and the Liverpool faithful could not wait for his return to action. 

It was not a high-paced game for the most part, but Suarez was heavily involved. He hit the crossbar with a free-kick effort in the second half, and despite looking slightly rusty he was lively throughout and looked to get past the United defence whenever he could. 

However, both sides had a solid back four, and United took advantage of Liverpool while they were at their most vulnerable point -just after half-time. Pacy Mexican striker Javier Hernandez ran past the Liverpool defence and before they knew it, the ball was past a helpless Mignolet into the back of the net. The Reds had many chances to score throughout the game, but United held on to progress through to the 4th Round and forget about their embarrassing 4-1 defeat to local rivals Manchester City on Sunday afternoon. 

Newcastle United 2 Leeds United 0
Not really much of a shock result for Newcastle at home, comfortably beating Leeds in-front of the Toon. Papiss Cisse scored his first goal for 5 months to help the hosts seal a 4th Round place, with French forward Yoan Gouffran also scoring to complete the win. 

Tranmere Rovers 0 Stoke City 2
Another easy to predict scoreline, well played to Tranmere though as they played well throughout but were unluckily punished on the counter attack against a stronger Stoke side. Irish midfielder Stephan Ireland opened the scoring in the 23rd minute to score on his Stoke debut after completing a deadline day move, before Crouch made it 2-0 late on in the 90th minute.  

West Brom 1 Arsenal 1* AET (3-4 on pens)
Probably the most enthralling game of the night, The Hawthorns hosted an in-form Arsenal side who were still ecstatic after the club-record arrival of Real Madrid midfielder Mesut Ozil, who joined the club on transfer deadline day for £42.3million pounds. 

However, Wenger was desperate to rest his first-team players ahead of Saturday's clash with Swansea away from home and the only "survivor" from their comfortable 3-1 win over Stoke City was German defender Per Mertesacker. The Gunners virtually put out a second string side with some youth team players included with Gnabry, Eisfield and Hayden all players given senior team debuts against a strong West Brom side.

Former Borussia Dortmund youth star midfielder Thomas Eisfield broke the deadlock just after 60 minutes, before Saido Berahino equalised 10 minutes later. 

There was drama late on in the second half, with Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner unable to finish his chances in-front of goal on his first start for Arsenal in over 2 years. The game went to extra-time, and the game only got more intense with players suffering from cramp late on.

Then penalties came. West Brom tried their best, but failed short in-front of their home fans. 

Here is the official 4th Round Draw:

Sunderland vs Southampton
Leicester City vs Fulham
Birmingham City vs Stoke City
Manchester United vs Norwich City
Burnley vs West Ham United
Arsenal vs Chelsea
Tottenham Hotspur vs Hull City
Newcastle United vs Manchester City