Once again the midweek action in the Carabao Cup lived up to its billing with stunning goals, first goals, upsets and drama around the grounds.
Nigel Clough caused another upset on Tuesday night as he guided Burton Albion to the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup for the first time in their history, even if it was at the expense of the club both he and his father have such strong connections to.
Clough made four changes to the side that lost at home to Peterborough last weekend but a goal from Scott Fraser and a stunning strike from Jake Hesketh that followed a Forest own-goal in the second half were enough for the Brewers to get over the line, despite a late fightback from Forest. The Sky Bet League One outfit now face Middlesbrough in the next round, meaning an EFL side will definitely feature in the semi-finals of this year’s competition.
Boro’s win against Crystal Palace at the Riverside on Wednesday came courtesy of a spectacular goal from local lad Lewis Wing, who’s had somewhat of a whirlwind year having been a regular for County Durham minnows Shildon in the ninth tier of English football just 18 months ago.
The youngster’s long-range effort on the stroke of half time was enough to see off Roy Hodgson's Premier League side as Boro withstood pressure in the second half from Palace.
The story of the round was of course Frank Lampard’s emotional return to Stamford Bridge as his in-form Derby County side faced Chelsea. The Blue’s all-time leading goalscorer received an incredible reception from supporters in all areas of the ground as he entered the Stamford Bridge pitch, and his side gave the former Premier League champions a tough test for 90 minutes, only narrowly missing out. A frantic first-half saw the Rams respond twice to conceding own goals, Jack Marriott continued his hot streak by netting on the big stage again, but Cesc Fabregas settled the tie with his 41st minute strike to give the Blues’ a 3-2 win.
Heung-Min Son scored twice for Spurs as they beat London rivals West Ham United 3-1 at the Olympic Stadium. Lucas Perez had responded to Son’s double in the 71st minute in a game that ebbed and flowed throughout, but Fernando Llorente restored their two-goal advantage to secure the win and set up a North London derby against Arsenal in the Quarter-Finals.
The Gunners young outfit did enough to see off a resilient Blackpool side with goals from Stephan Lichsteiner and England youngster Emile Smith Rowe, who became Arsenal’s youngest Carabao Cup goalscorer since Jack Wilshire a decade ago.
Bournemouth also progressed into the last eight as Eddie Howe’s side had to pull out all the stops to see off an impressive Norwich City on Tuesday night. Howe paid tribute to the visitors afterwards, who were on top for long periods in the game, but after deservedly equalising on 70 minutes through Onel Hernandez, the Cherries responded just two minutes later through Steve Cook to restore their lead. They hung on to book their place in the last eight for only the third time in their history.
Thursday night’s fixture saw Manchester City defeat Fulham in an all Premier League tie at the Etihad Stadium. Spanish teenager Brahim Diaz scored his first senior goals for club, netting in each half to take Pep Guardiola’s side through to the last eight.
The current holders will find out their quarter-final opponents on 27 November when Leicester City play their tie against Southampton. The tie was postponed following the devastating events last weekend which saw Foxes owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha tragically lose his life in a helicopter crash at the King Power.
The full quarter-final draw is as follows with ties due to be played week commencing 17 December;
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur
Middlesbrough v Burton Albion
Chelsea v AFC Bournemouth
Leicester City / Southampton v Manchester City