This year, the Carabao Cup has seen goals aplenty – and we’re only into Round Four!
Whether notching your first career treble or simply adding to a growing tally, taking home the match ball is a special moment for a young up-and-comer and stalwart strikers alike.
With Round Three behind us and Round Four of the competition on the horizon, will we see any more Carabao Cup stars become hat-trick heroes?
For Marcus Forss, it was written in the stars – or rather, in his name – that the Finnish forward would do something special when Brentford came up against Oldham Athletic in Round Three of the Carabao Cup.
And the 22-year-old had wrapped up his hat-trick before the half-time whistle sounded, as Brentford made light work of their Sky Bet League Two opposition.
The Bees were already 5-0 up heading into the break but Forss and the West Londoners weren’t finished there. The striker added his fourth and Brentford’s sixth goal of the evening on the hour mark, with the tie finishing 7-0 to the hosts.
Between them, Brentford’s Forss and Jay Rodriguez of Burnley netted eight goals on the night in Round Three of the competition.
The former Southampton and West Bromwich Albion man headed the Clarets level after Jake Beesley gave Rochdale the lead shortly after the interval.
And 12 minutes later, Rodriguez bagged a treble, putting Burnley in the driving seat at 3-1. The 32-year-old added his fourth deep into the second period, as he and the Clarets sailed through to Round Four, getting the forward off the mark for the 2021/22 season.
Round Two brought goals aplenty, as Arsenal recorded an identical 6-0 score-line against West Bromwich Albion.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was the recipient of the match ball for the Gunners, as the North Londoners thrashed the Baggies to book their place in Round Three.
The Gunners and Gabon skipper was on a hat-trick at half-time, but Alex Palmer denied Aubameyang his third in added time of the first-half, only for Nicolas Pepe to convert the rebound. However, the Arsenal striker curled in his third and Arsenal’s fifth in the 62nd minute to put the game beyond all doubt.
The decade-long wait for a hat-trick was worth it for Swansea City and Morgan Whittaker, who played his part in the South Wales Club’s 4-1 triumph over Plymouth Argyle in Round Two.
The 20-year-old became the first Swans player to score a hat-trick in 10 years, since Scott Sinclair bagged three goals against Reading in the 2010/11 Championship Play-Off Final.
Jamal Lowe gave Swansea the lead, before Plymouth’s Rhys Shirley gave the League One team a foothold in the tie. Whittaker then sealed his treble in the short space of 11 minutes in the second period.
There’s a reason Sunderland’s Aiden O’Brien was voted Player of the Round for Round Two and it was for his impeccably timed treble against Blackpool.
One of Lee Johnson’s seven changes to the side, the Republic of Ireland international took his chance. O’Brien responded almost immediately to Shayne Lavery’s opener, cancelling out the strike to make it 1-1 in the 12th minute, before doubling his tally in the second-half.
The Tangerines found a way back into the tie when Josh Bowler equalised three minutes from time. But O’Brien was on hand to make it 3-2 late in the day, with his 91st minute winner worthy of the accolade.
First senior starts don’t get much better than Cameron Archer’s for Aston Villa in Round Two. The Walsall-born teenager marked his full debut with a hat-trick against Barrow in a 6-0 victory against the Cumbrians, to show the Villa faithful what he can do when given the opportunity.
And Archer – whose Cup form paved the way to his Premier League debut – continued his run of form in the competition, finding the back of the net against Chelsea in Round Three to level proceedings.
However, Dean Smith’s side bowed out of the competition on penalties later in the evening.
History was made in Round Two as Southampton registered the biggest-ever away win in the Premier League Club’s history, unmoved by Newport County’s giant-killing reputation.
The Norwegian’s team-mates had already fashioned a 3-0 lead in the first-half, when Mohamed Elyounoussi popped up with his first goal of the evening in the 48th minute at Rodney Parade. The forward made it 5-0 with his second and completed Saints’ record 8-0 win and his hat-trick with the final kick of the game.