Talking points from the EFL Cup second round
The early weeks of the season are always interesting in determining what kind of shape teams are in for the new campaign. Within that, the EFL Cup is always a good opportunity for clubs to rotate and give fringe players a chance, and with some good performances those players can work their way into their manager’s first-team plans.
With the second round having recently taken place — the round in which Premier League teams who aren’t competing in Europe enter the fray — there were some notable performances from the top-flight sides. Let’s have a look at a few of the major talking points from the second round of the League Cup.
Arsenal back on track
After two successive 2-0 Premier League defeats to Brentford and Chelsea respectively,, the EFL Cup offered a chance for Arsenal to restore a semblance of equilibrium. A much-changed West Bromwich Albion were their opponents, and Gunners boss Mikel Arteta did not beat around the bush, naming a strong line-up to try and secure his team’s place in the next round and deliver on Arsenal’s status as strong favourites in the football betting.
The team selection paid dividends, as Arsenal ran out 6-0 winners at The Hawthorns, and it will have been pleasing for supporters to see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang chip in with a hat-trick, along with goals for Nicolas Pépé, Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette. Arteta has missed his two main frontmen in the opening weeks of the season, and seeing them get back on the pitch and on the scoresheet is hugely encouraging.
On paper, a trip to Newport Country seemed like a difficult task for Southampton, and a possible banana skin. But Newport made wholesale changes to their starting eleven, and that allowed a weakened Southampton team to walk all over them. After a draw against Manchester United in the Premier League, Southampton clearly gained some confidence, and there was real swagger in the 8-0 demolition of Newport.
It’s been a tough summer for the Saints, especially after losing star striker Danny Ings, but if they can build momentum off the back of this victory, albeit against weak opponents, they could increase their standing in the football betting tips.
Everton survive a scare
Whilst most of the Premier League teams enjoyed a relatively comfortable passage to the third round, that could not be said of Everton, who were made to work hard for a 2-1 win over Huddersfield Town. With the score level at 1-1 at half-time, a red card for Everton’s Moise Kean in the second half seemed to give the Terriers an edge.
But the home side couldn’t make their advantage count, and in the end, Andros Townsend pounced to give Everton the victory and a place in the next round.
Leeds make superiority count
Having snatched a point against Everton in their last Premier League match, a home League Cup tie against Crewe Alexandra was a perfect opportunity for Leeds United to build some much-needed momentum. But Crewe were not in the mood to roll over for their top-flight opponents, frustrating the home side for large periods of the match.
Unfortunately for the League One outfit, they couldn’t quite hold on long enough to force penalties. Kalvin Phillips’ goal broke the deadlock with just over 10 minutes to go, and a further two strikes from Jack Harrison sealed a 3-0 win which flattered Leeds in the end.