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Carabao Cup

Carabao Cup: the story so far

13 October 2020

With the Quarter-Finalists of the Carabao Cup confirmed for 2020/21, we take a look back at how Stoke City, Tottenham Hotspur, Brentford, Newcastle United, Arsenal, Manchester City, Everton and Manchester United reached the last eight.


One of just two Championship sides remaining in this year's competition, Stoke City have had to overcome some tricky ties en route to the Quarter-Final stage. After seeing off a resolute Blackpool side in Round One from the penalty spot following a goalless draw, things looked to be going the same way when they travelled to Premier League Wolverhampton Wanderers in Round Two, only for Jacob Brown to score the winner four minutes from time. Round Three brought what looked on paper a more favourable tie against League One's Gillingham, but again they were made to work hard to get their name in the hat. This time, they didn't leave it quite so late, with Tyrese Campbell's 37th-minute effort ultimately sending Stoke through to face another Premier League side in Aston Villa. Once again, one goal is all it would take, as Michael O'Neill's men upset the odds at Villa Park, sealing their place in the last eight thanks to Sam Vokes' first-half header. Next up, it's Jose Mourinho's Tottenham Hotspur. The Potters' famous triumph over Chelsea in the 1972 Final remains one of the most memorable moments in the club's history, and it's one they'll be dreaming of replicating.


After receiving a bye into Round Four, Spurs faced an eye-catching clash against Mourinho's former employers, Chelsea. Four-time winners against five-time winners inside Tottenham's breathtaking new arena, it would be the hosts that qualified, but only after yet more penalty shootout drama. Following a 1-1 draw in normal time, which featured a first Chelsea goal for high-profile summer signing Timo Werner at one end and first assist for new Spurs recruit Sergio Reguilon at the other, the Blues' Mason Mount missed the crucial spot-kick after nine penalties had been converted. It means Mourinho has progressed from 26 of his 31 League Cup ties, with this the first time he has ever progressed via a penalty shootout in the competition, losing his previous three. They'll now be strong favourites to reach the Semi-Finals once again.


Brentford's bid to make others stand up and take note has been clear to see in the Carabao Cup this season. After seeing off fellow Championship side Wycombe Wanderers in Round One, the Bees have impressively swept aside three top-flight Clubs to reach the last eight. Their first victims were a strong Southampton side in Round Two, as Thomas Frank's men turned on the style to secure a 2-0 away win, courtesy of Christian Norgaard and Josh Dasilva. Then came West Bromwich Albion, the side who just pipped them to automatic promotion at the end of the 2019/20 campaign, in a Round Three clash which included a Goal of the Tournament contender from Emiliano Marcondes that sent the tie to penalties. David Raya was the hero in the shootout, setting up a huge clash against Fulham, who beat Brentford in last season's Championship Play-Off Final at Wembley Stadium. The Bees revenge would be sweet, though, as a 3-0 win saw them through to face Newcastle United for a spot in the Semis.


Newcastle entered the competition at the Round Two stage and, since then, it's been a story of three very different matches on their way to the Quarter-Finals. Their first tie - a home clash with Championship Blackburn Rovers - was a potential banana skin, but the Magpies came through the test despite an impressive performance from the away side. A first goal for summer signing Ryan Fraser set up a meeting with League Two side Morecambe, where there was to be no such trouble in progressing. Steve Bruce's men hit seven goals on the night at the Globe Arena, with Joelinton netting an eye-catching brace as Newcastle breezed into Round Four. Another League Two opponent, Newport County awaited, in what was their first-ever appearance at this stage of the competition, and few would disagree they did themselves proud. It took a stunning effort from Jonjo Shelvey three minutes from time to send the game to yet another shootout from 12 yards, and the Geordies' blushes were spared after an eventual 5-4 win, one that sent them through to the last eight.


Arsenal will be determined to end their 27-year wait to lift the League Cup for a third time, and that has shone through so far, with the Gunners overcoming two tough ties to reach the Quarters. After entering at the Round Three stage, Mikel Arteta's side were drawn against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium, and while the stats represent a pretty even game on paper, the visitors were simply more clinical on the night. An own goal from Christian Fuchs, followed by Eddie Nketiah's late strike, meant safe passage for the North Londoners, and a chance to avenge last season's defeat to Liverpool at the same stage. A trip to Anfield is no easy task, but the Gunners saw off the challenge posed by Jurgen Klopp's men in Round Four, taking them all the way to penalties following a goalless draw. There, it eventually came down to youngster Joe Willock to fire Arsenal through - but only just - a moment he will surely never forget. Things don't get any easier, though, with a clash against holders Manchester City to come next.


Pep Guardiola's Manchester City have been synonymous with the Carabao Cup in recent years, and are bidding to become just the second side after Liverpool to have won it four years in a row. A team full of experienced winners, they'll have been bursting with pride after the efforts of a couple of their youngsters in Round Three. A fairytale debut goal for Liam Delap - son of Rory - set them on their way to victory over Championship side AFC Bournemouth, before local lad and boyhood fan Phil Foden sealed an eventual 2-1 win in Manchester. Out of the hat in the Round Four draw came fellow top-flight competitors Burnley, with an always-difficult visit to Turf Moor standing in the way of City and a place in the Quarter-Finals once more. Guardiola's men made a tough task look simple, however, with Raheem Sterling turning on the style to set the tone for a 3-0 win in a game which also included a first Citizens goal for new signing Ferran Torres. City and Arsenal met in the 2018 Final, but who will come out on top when they face off in the last eight?


It's fair to say Everton carried their fine start to their league campaign into the Carabao Cup, with Carlo Ancelotti's men showing why they have as good a chance as anyone in this year's instalment of the competition. Having entered at the Round Two stage, they've already netted 12 goals in total, including three against League Two's Salford City, five against Fleetwood Town of League One in Round Three and four against fellow Premier League side West Ham United in Round Four, which included Dominic Calvert-Lewin's memorable hat-trick and subsequent Player of the Round award. The Toffees have twice been League Cup runners-up and will be desperate to lift the famous trophy for the first time in 2020/21, and will host five-time winners Manchester United in the Quarter-Finals, in what will be just the fourth meeting between the sides in this competition. There will be plenty of eyes on this one.


Winners in this competition as recently as 2016/17, Manchester United will no doubt be looking to go all the way again this season. They've impressed in their two games so far on the way to the last eight, recording a pair of 3-0 victories on the road against Luton Town and Brighton & Hove Albion respectively. Experienced midfielder Juan Mata found the net in both Rounds Three and Four, and squad depth could well prove an important factor as the competition continues into the latter stages over winter. First-team regulars such as Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Paul Pogba have also got themselves among the goals for United in the Carabao Cup this season, highlighting just how seriously Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is taking this opportunity to claim more silverware for the club he famously represented. His former boss, Sir Alex Ferguson, remains the joint-most successful manager in the competition's history.

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