Does Leon Balogun’s Brighton inactivity affect Rohr’s squad planning?


The Super Eagles stalwart is finding games hard to come by in England, and there is a worry it might be affecting his international form


COMMENT    By Solace Chukwu     Follow on Twitter
 


So much about Leon Balogun‘s tenure with the national team has been about timing and chance.

When the Super Eagles punched their ticket to the World Cup in Russia, few had quite the same outpouring of emotion as he: an unfortunate injury on his international debut had deprived him of a shot in 2014. Then, he seemed the solution to a longstanding problem at right-back; now he has matured into the leader at the heart of the defence.

He has acquitted himself with almost unrelenting excellence all the way through with the national side, but lately there have been suggestions that his form has dipped slightly below that threshold.

In the most recent qualifiers against Libya, the 30-year-old was part of a backline that struggled at times, notable ceding a two-goal advantage in Sfax before rebounding to get a winner.

The caveat, of course, is that defending is a more holistic team function than it is an individual one.

Nigeria v. Argentina - Gernot Rohr

For one thing, Gernot Rohr’s decision to field Oghenekaro Etebo as the deepest midfielder often meant space opened up in front of the defence. For all his strengths, Balogun performs better as the less aggressive of the centre-back pairing, dropping off to hoover up what slips through the net. When there is no net, he would understandably be less effective.

Add to that the fact that he has to hold the hand of Jamilu Collins, a newcomer to the side, and it becomes even easier to understand an uncharacteristically lukewarm pair of outings.

However, the fact that they can be rationalized does not mean the concerns regarding his form are to be dismissed altogether. Balogun’s game has never been about pace, but there is only so much that can be done to make up for that, especially if Rohr intends to persist with such a porous midfield configuration.

Being the wrong side of 30 makes it an even more acute concern.

Leon Balogun | 2018-19 Premier League stats

However, perhaps the single biggest bone of contention is his lack of appearances this term for Brighton.

There was a lot of enthusiasm for his move to England this summer. The greater visibility of the Premier League was a factor in this: the Bundesliga enjoys far less coverage in the Nigerian local press, and off the back of a strong set of outings at the World Cup, it seemed like a promotion, a somewhat overdue but logical next step.

The reality, though, has been a lot less idyllic.

Leon Balogun

The partnership of Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy has proved almost unshakeable at the Amex Stadium, and has relegated Balogun to just the two appearances this term.

That in itself is not necessarily a problem, especially considering the fact that, toward the end of his time with Mainz, he similarly struggled for gametime. However, the increased access has become a double-edged sword, almost serving to shine a spotlight on his inactivity.

After all, if Balogun sat on the bench in Germany, and no one was there to see it, did it really happen?

What is a problem is the coming together of all these factors at this precise point in time, which makes it all the more difficult to wave away.

What is clear now is that, while the call, from some quarters, for his place in the side to be taken away may be hasty and over the top, it may be necessary for Rohr to bring forward his defensive succession planning.

Leon Balogun

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That may well involve giving more game time to Kenneth Omeruo, who is enjoying some gametime in Spain with Leganes. However, his style does not quite complement that of William Troost-Ekong, whom he would partner–both are more comfortable engaging the man than hanging back and defending the space.

It is perhaps with an eye to this that Rotherham’s Semi Ajayi has come into prominence in the Super Eagles set-up: a strong defender in duels, but rather more capable in a covering role, as well as in bringing the ball out from the back.

In the short-term, however, it would be wise to set the team up in a more pragmatic way to mask Balogun’s weaknesses. This, instructively, is what has made him so good up until now: a more disciplined holding player could prolong his international career, while buying Rohr more time to prepare for the long-term.





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DIS case against Neymar referred to higher court in Spain



A Spanish judge intends to pass on the allegation of corruption and fraud against the Brazilian to the country’s higher judicial body

A tribunal comprising three senior judges will hear the proceedings relating to the complaint made against Neymar and Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu by Brazilian company DIS, which stems from his transfer to the club from Santos in 2013.
 
According to EFE news agency, judge Jose Maria Vazquez Honrubia intends to pass the case on from the national court to the Criminal Chamber of the Audiencia Nacional, a higher judicial body, since prosecutors are calling for more severe sanctions than the maximum five-year prison sentence Vazquez Honrubia’s court can hand down.
 
DIS’ complaint alleges corruption and fraud on the part of Neymar and Bartomeu relating to the current Paris Saint-Germain forward’s move to Barca five years ago, claiming the full cost of the transfer was hidden and therefore prevented them being paid in full for their 40 per cent share in the player’s ownership rights.
 
The company alleges they are entitled to more than the reported €6.8 million they received when Neymar completed his move.
 
All parties deny any wrongdoing.

The complaint made by DIS is separate to that initiated against Neymar and Barca by ‘socio’ Jordi Cases in 2013, who alleged the misappropriation of funds and a lack of transparency in the deal that took the Brazil star to Camp Nou.
 
A Spanish high court threw out Cases’ complaint in 2016 before a provincial court in Barcelona closed proceedings in December of the same year, after Barca reached an agreement with the Public Prosecutor’s Office and State Attorney’s Office.

The star had also previously stood trial in his native Brazil on charges of evading taxes related to income earned from first club Santos and Barca as well as sponsors during the 2011-14 period. 

In July 2017, a judge in Sao Paulo cleared him in a criminal trial on those accusations, ruling “lack of merit”, while a civil case brought forward by Brazilian tax authorities saw him agree to pay a reduced settlement on appeal. 

Neymar became football’s most expensive player in the summer of 2018 when he moved from Barca to PSG in a move worth €222 million (£200m/$262m). 

Since moving to France he has netted 40 goals in 42 appearances in all competitions, helping the Parisians to a domestic treble in his debut season with victory in Ligue 1, Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue competitions.

His first campaign, however, was interrupted by a metatarsal injury that put him out of action in February, meaning he missed PSG’s Champions League exit in the last 16 at the hands of Real Madrid.



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Gattuso preaches caution after last-gasp AC Milan win



Gennaro Gattuso has challenged his AC Milan players to prove they belong near the top of Serie A after dramatic late win over Genoa.

Gennaro Gattuso has urged his side not to get carried away after a last-gasp 2-1 triumph over Genoa on Wednesday lifted AC Milan up to fourth in Serie A.

Questions were raised over Gattuso’s future as Rossoneri head coach after a 1-0 derby defeat against Inter 10 days ago, but the 40-year-old has now steered his side to back-to-back victory to lift them into the Champions League qualification positions.

They looked destined to only get a point after Alessio Romagnoli’s unfortunate own goal cancelled out Suso’s early opener.

There was a late twist in Milan’s favour, though, as Romagnoli took full advantage of a weak punch from Ionut Radu to hook a superb first-time volley over the stranded goalkeeper in stoppage time.

Gattuso preached caution after the win and has challenged his side to prove they belong in the upper echelons of Serie A.

“The victory has allowed us to reach fourth place, but this is just a first step,” he told a news conference.


“We now have to demonstrate that we can remain in that position.

“We made things complicated by conceding an incredible goal but being able to bring the victory home is a good sign.

“I continue to do my job and what we’ve been through is a good sign.”

Romagnoli went from zero to hero with his dramatic late winner and believes Milan are being overly criticised for their start to the season.

“We deserved the victory,” he told Sky Sport Italia. “We played very well.

“I’m sorry for my own goal. I was unlucky, but I made up for it. In my opinion, we’ve been criticised too much.

“The results are what count and we got another. We must improve and stay near the top.”





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Zaha has Crystal Palace’s support after being racially abused, assures Roy Hodgson



The winger revealed that he has received racist abuse and death threats after winning the penalty that earned the Eagles a 2-2 draw against Arsenal

‘Crystal Palace will do everything they can to support Wilfried Zaha’, says coach Roy Hodgson after the winger revealed that he was subjected to racial slurs and death threats.

On Tuesday, Zaha posted an update on his Instagram that claimed he was sent some vile abuse after winning a decisive penalty in Arsenal 2-2 draw on Saturday.

“For all the people taking it one step further and being racist and wishing death on my family, I wish your families the best too,” Zaha wrote.

“P.S My life is still very good despite your hate.”

However, the Eagles’ manager has assured that the Cote d’Ivoire international has the support of the club.

“The club will do everything they can to support him,” Hodgson said after Palace’s loss to Middlesbrough in Wednesday’s English League Cup.

“I don’t think there are many people out there who believe that racially abusing people is the right way to go. Our support is with the player.”

After the encounter at Selhurst Park, Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka admitted he fouled the Cote d’Ivoire international.

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“It’s difficult. I think it’s a clear penalty,” he said.

“I touched him in the knee. The referee gave a penalty. That’s football.”

 



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Cultural Leonesa v Barcelona Match Report, 31/10/2018, Copa del Rey



Cultural Leonesa 0 Barcelona 1: Lenglet snatches late winner

Barcelona rested several stars for the trip to Cultural Leonesa and looked short of their best as they snatched a win.

An injury-time header from Clement Lenglet gave Barcelona a 1-0 win over Cultural Leonesa in the first leg of their Copa del Rey last-32 tie on Wednesday.

Four days on from their 5-1 thrashing of Real Madrid, the Catalans struggled for inspiration in the absence of the injured Lionel Messi and rested stars Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho against their third-tier opponents.

It was Cultural who missed the better of the opportunities to earn a first-leg advantage to take back to Camp Nou in December until the first minute of second-half stoppage time, when Lenglet scored his first goal for the club.

Denis Suarez had the chance to add a flattering look to the scoreline deep into stoppage time but pulled wastefully wide, while the otherwise impressive Cultural midfielder Sergio Marcos received a second yellow card for dissent.

Ernesto Valverde handed chances to Ousmane Dembele, Malcom and Arturo Vidal alongside several youngsters, including centre-half pairing Chumi and Jorge Cuenca and left-back Juan Miranda.

The best chance of a poor first half fell to Zelu, who was denied by Jasper Cillessen after Nelson Semedo was dispossessed near his own penalty area.

Barca were then dealt a blow when Sergi Samper, so unlucky with injuries over the past two years, was left in tears on the touchline after being forced off with a calf problem.

Cultural continued to cause problems for Barca, who themselves looked sluggish in possession and short of creativity, with a wayward Dembele free-kick summing up their performance in the first hour.

Cillessen made a fine one-handed stop to keep out Saul Gonzalez’s rasping drive and deny Cultural a famous win, and Barca grabbed a goal in the dying minutes with their only clear-cut chance of the match, Lenglet heading past Jorge Palatsi as Dembele got his dead-ball delivery right.

What does it mean? Shock risk will leave Valverde worried for second leg

If this was a chance for Barca’s fringe players to stake a claim for a place, they failed to take it.

There was little to no fluidity about their play and the way Cultural approached the match will give them at least some hope of producing a real shock when they head to Camp Nou for the second leg in a month’s time.

Whether the likes of Dembele or Malcom feature remains to be seen, but it is unlikely Valverde will be pleased with the display.

Lenglet bails out Barca

This was not a performance Valverde will be proud of, but he can be pleased with the contribution of Lenglet, who added much-needed composure to his side before scoring the winning goal.

Complacent Semedo almost costs Barca

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Few visiting players truly performed to their best of their abilities, but Nelson Semedo’s casual moment in possession gifted Cultural arguably their best chance of the match. It summed up a generally poor display.

What’s next?

Barca have a tough run of games before the visit of Cultural to Camp Nou on December 5. Next up is a LaLiga trip to Rayo Vallecano, with a Champions League clash at Inter to follow, before domestic matches against Real Betis and Atletico Madrid.





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EFL Cup: Arsenal 2 Blackpool 1



Matteo Guendouzi was sent off for Arsenal, but they still managed to hold on to a 2-1 win over Blackpool in the EFL Cup on Wednesday.

Arsenal bounced back from their draw with Crystal Palace by beating League One side Blackpool 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium to reach the EFL Cup quarter-finals, as both teams had a player sent off.

Unai Emery’s side saw their 11-match winning run come to an end at Selhurst Park on Sunday, but they avoided falling short for a second game in a row, even if the performance left a lot to be desired.

An otherwise unremarkable first half was punctuated by Stephan Lichtsteiner’s first goal for the club and 18-year-old Emile Smith Rowe seemingly wrapped things up in the 50th minute.

But Matteo Guendouzi’s red card just before the hour for two cheap bookings boosted the visitors and they pulled one back through Paudie O’Connor soon afterwards. 

They could not force the equaliser and their goalscorer was dismissed late on.

Arsenal eventually got a first shot on target in the 33rd minute and it provided them with the opening goal, as Lichtsteiner managed to nudge the ball into the bottom-left corner when stretching to reach Guendouzi’s lofted pass.

They got themselves another early in the second half – Smith Rowe finding the net from close range after Mark Howard parried Carl Jenkinson’s miscued cross to the midfielder.

Blackpool were offered encouragement soon after when Petr Cech knocked a corner delivery against his own crossbar.

Guendouzi was then shown a second yellow for a needless tug on Jordan Thompson and Blackpool capitalised 10 minutes later, O’Connor heading home from Thompson’s corner.     

Cech attempted to dribble his way out of danger 21 minutes from time and was tackled by Jay Spearing, but Nathan Delfouneso’s goal was disallowed for offside. 

Blackpool’s hopes of getting a second ended with O’Connor being shown a straight red six minutes from the end for a cynical tackle on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.                                                                                     


 

What does it mean? Gunners show grit after making things hard for themselves

It was by no means an impressive collective performance from Arsenal and they shot themselves in the foot with Guendouzi’s red card, yet after O’Connor’s goal they generally – Cech’s blunder aside – kept things tight. 

Smith Rowe catches the eye again

After an impressive pre-season, Smith Rowe has continued to look the part for the Gunners. On Wednesday he was a driving force in midfield, always willing to run at the defence, and he got himself a goal.

Cech yourself before you wreck yourself

Playing for the first time since late September, Cech was back from injury and eager to impress after Bernd Leno’s recent performances. Unfortunately, the veteran was poor. He looked susceptible to crosses and with the ball at his feet. The offside flag bailed him out after his worst moment.

What’s next?

Arsenal return to Premier League action on Saturday and face their toughest task of the season so far as Liverpool visit. Blackpool host Bristol Rovers in League One.





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Lampard passes management test as Chelsea given Halloween fright


The Blues icon came back to Stamford Bridge and almost caused a stunning upset with the Rams, who ultimately ended on the losing side

A hero’s welcome awaited Frank Lampard as he strode back into the club where he ranks as a legendary figure, and the Derby County coach came close to causing Chelsea a Halloween nightmare.

Chants from all sections of the ground throughout the stadium were accompanied by banners from the Matthew Harding end in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup tie, as Lampard acknowledged the crowd for their support.

Lampard gave everything to Chelsea and they gave it back, in recognition of a career that yielded 211 goals in 648 appearances, saw him lift 11 major honours and almost win the Ballon d’Or, coming second to Ronaldinho back in 2005.

However, his football life has switched over into a new chapter and his side can count themselves unlucky after being edged out in a 3-2 defeat in west London.

Derby had yet to have a shot on target registered against them as they found themselves 2-1 down, with own goals from Fikayo Tomori and Richard Keogh cancelling out an earlier strike from Chelsea fan Jack Marriott.

Chelsea’s loanees were involved in goals at both ends. After Tomori’s own goal Mason Mount provided a cross for Martyn Waghorn to level, leaving Maurizio Sarri raging again at the state of his defence.

Lampard was true to his word and refused to celebrate, only nodding in approval as the equaliser came. He then watched the man who replaced him at the club, Cesc Fabregas, emulated the type of strike that he made his name with to make it 3-2 before half-time.

His side spent long periods of the game without the ball but they competed against the FA Cup holders, who are yet to taste defeat this season.

Lampard’s side were able to win the ball high up the pitch and produce direct possession to their pacey wingers, who caused all kinds of problems for Chelsea’s second string defence.

Chelsea have played more one-sided matches in the Premier League and Europe this season and Lampard and his coaching team, which includes Jody Morris and Chris Jones – who signed from Chelsea in the summer – can hold their heads up high.

Chelsea Zappacosta

The Blues’ decision to allow Mount and Tomori a chance to play at Stamford Bridge gave them the chance to see what their future might be, as they try to develop to get to the next level.

Similarly in the dugout, Lampard is in the early stages of a career that could take him to the top once again. Derby are an ambitious club and can be a great platform for Lampard and co, but the onlooking Chelsea directors may dream of seeing one of the club’s greatest players return to manage.

Chelsea were struggling to hang on to get their name in the quarter-final draw of the Carabao Cup with Marriott dangerous time and time again in the second half. Mount also went close late on and the huge travelling support bounced with pride throughout the 90 minutes.

Sarri needed to throw the big guns of Pedro, David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta on in the second half to dull Derby’s resistance, acknowledging the danger posed by the Championship’s sixth-placed club.

Lampard’s Derby beat Manchester United and with luck, could have come out on top against another top-six Premier League team.

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Indeed, if veteran striker David Nugent’s 89th minute effort had nestled just inside the post instead of bouncing off the woodwork, Lampard would have forced an unwanted extra 30 minutes and perhaps penalties on his beloved Blues.

The size of the challenge to beat Chelsea was huge for Derby, with no win here since 1983 and no clean sheet since Peter Shilton’s blank in 1987.

Super Frank almost accomplished it and, like his wonderkids in his side, he is showing the potential in his early career and he could become a top level manager.



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Cultural Leonesa 0 Barcelona 1: Match report



Barcelona rested several stars for the trip to Cultural Leonesa and looked short of their best as they snatched a win.

An injury-time header from Clement Lenglet gave Barcelona a 1-0 win over Cultural Leonesa in the first leg of their Copa del Rey last-32 tie on Wednesday.

Four days on from their 5-1 thrashing of Real Madrid, the Catalans struggled for inspiration in the absence of the injured Lionel Messi and rested stars Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho against their third-tier opponents.

It was Cultural who missed the better of the opportunities to earn a first-leg advantage to take back to Camp Nou in December until the first minute of second-half stoppage time, when Lenglet scored his first goal for the club.

Denis Suarez had the chance to add a flattering look to the scoreline deep into stoppage time but pulled wastefully wide, while the otherwise impressive Cultural midfielder Sergio Marcos received a second yellow card for dissent.

Ernesto Valverde handed chances to Ousmane Dembele, Malcom and Arturo Vidal alongside several youngsters, including centre-half pairing Chumi and Jorge Cuenca and left-back Juan Miranda.

The best chance of a poor first half fell to Zelu, who was denied by Jasper Cillessen after Nelson Semedo was dispossessed near his own penalty area.

Barca were then dealt a blow when Sergi Samper, so unlucky with injuries over the past two years, was left in tears on the touchline after being forced off with a calf problem.


Cultural continued to cause problems for Barca, who themselves looked sluggish in possession and short of creativity, with a wayward Dembele free-kick summing up their performance in the first hour.

Cillessen made a fine one-handed stop to keep out Saul Gonzalez’s rasping drive and deny Cultural a famous win, and Barca grabbed a goal in the dying minutes with their only clear-cut chance of the match, Lenglet heading past Jorge Palatsi as Dembele got his dead-ball delivery right.

What does it mean? Shock risk will leave Valverde worried for second leg

If this was a chance for Barca’s fringe players to stake a claim for a place, they failed to take it.

There was little to no fluidity about their play and the way Cultural approached the match will give them at least some hope of producing a real shock when they head to Camp Nou for the second leg in a month’s time.

Whether the likes of Dembele or Malcom feature remains to be seen, but it is unlikely Valverde will be pleased with the display.

Lenglet bails out Barca

This was not a performance Valverde will be proud of, but he can be pleased with the contribution of Lenglet, who added much-needed composure to his side before scoring the winning goal.

Complacent Semedo almost costs Barca

Few visiting players truly performed to their best of their abilities, but Nelson Semedo’s casual moment in possession gifted Cultural arguably their best chance of the match. It summed up a generally poor display.

What’s next?

Barca have a tough run of games before the visit of Cultural to Camp Nou on December 5. Next up is a LaLiga trip to Rayo Vallecano, with a Champions League clash at Inter to follow, before domestic matches against Real Betis and Atletico Madrid.





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Carabao Cup 2018-19: Fixtures, teams, draw dates & all you need to know


Goal brings you all you need to know about this year’s edition of the Carabao Cup, where Pep Guardiola’s side will be aiming to defend their title

The fourth round of this year’s Carabao Cup is set to be played at the end of October with the likes of Liverpool having crashed out at the hands of Chelsea.

Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham, however, have progressed.

Manchester United were stunned at the hands of a Derby County side led by former Chelsea player Frank Lampard, with the Championship edging out a penalty shootout victory after the game ended 2-2 in regular time.

Ahead of the next round of fixtures, Goal has your complete guide, including what teams are participating, as well as draw dates, game schedules and results.


Carabao Cup 2018-19 format


All 92 clubs competing in the Premier League and the English Football League enter the 2018-19 EFL Cup, with participation distributed across the divisions.

The competition will be played over seven rounds, with single leg ties throughout, except in the semi-finals.

In round one, the draw will be split into northern and southern clubs with 22 Championship clubs and all League One and League Two clubs entering.

In the second round, the two remaining Championship clubs Swansea and Stoke (who finished 18th and 19th last season in the Premier League) as well as the Premier League clubs not involved in either the Champions League or Europa League will enter.

The likes of Arsenal, Burnley, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur entered the third round due to their participation in Europe.

Date Round Clubs entering in this round Clubs advancing from previous round No of games
August 14 First round (70 clubs) 24 clubs from EFL League Two
24 clubs from EFL League One
22 clubs from EFL Championship
N/A 35
August 27 Second round (50 clubs) 2 clubs from EFL Championship
13 Premier League clubs (not involved in European competition)
35 winners from first round 25
September 24 Third round (32 clubs) 7 Premier League clubs (involved in European competition) 25 winners from second round 16
October 30 Fourth round (16 clubs) No entries 16 winners from third round 8
December 17 Quarter-finals (8 clubs) No entries 8 winners from fourth round 4
January 7 & 21 Semi-finals (4 clubs) No entries 4 winners from fifth round 2
February 24 Final (2 clubs) No entries 2 winners from semi-finals 1

Carabao Cup 2018-19 fifth round


The draw for the fifth round of the Carabao Cup was made on October 31, with Arsenal’s clash against Tottenham the headline fixture of the quarter-final round.

The matches will be played during the week commencing December 17.

Date Fixture TV
TBD Arsenal – Tottenham TBD
TBD Leicester City/Southampton – Manchester City/Fulham TBD
TBD Middlesbrough – Burton Albion TBD
TBD Chelsea – Bournemouth TBD

Carabao Cup 2018-19 fourth round


The draw for the fourth round of the Carabao Cup was made on September 29, with West Ham hosting Tottenham at London Stadium and Manchester City playing Fulham at home.

Leicester City’s home game against Southampton has been postponed following the tragic death of Foxes chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in a helicopter crash.

Games selected for television coverage are Burton Albion vs Nottingham Forest and Chelsea vs Derby County.

Date Fixture TV
Oct 30 Bournemouth 2-1 Norwich No
Oct 30 Burton Albion 3-2 Nottingham Forest Sky Sports Football
Oct 31 Arsenal 2-1 Blackpool No
Oct 31 Chelsea 3-2 Derby County Sky Sports Football
Oct 31 West Ham 1-3 Tottenham No
Oct 31 Middlesbrough 1-0 Crystal Palace No
Nov 1 Manchester City vs Fulham No
TBC Leicester City vs Southampton (PP)

Carabao Cup 2018-19 third round


The draw for the third round of the Carabao Cup was made on August 30, with holders Manchester City defeating Oxford 2-0. 

Manchester United crashed out sensationally after losing to Championship side Derby County on penalties.

Date Fixture
Sep 25 West Brom 0-3 Crystal Palace
Sep 25 Burton Albion 2-1 Burnley
Sep 25 Wycombe Wanderers 3-4 Norwich City
Sep 25 Oxford United 0-3 Manchester City
Sep 25 Millwall 1-3 Fulham
Sep 25 Bournemouth 3-2 Blackburn Rovers
Sep 25 Preston North End 2-2 Middlesbrough (3-4 pens)
Sep 25 Wolves 0-0 Leicester City (1-3 pens)
Sep 25 Blackpool 2-0 Queens Park Rangers
Sep 25 Manchester United 2-2 Derby County (7-8 pens)
Sep 26 Nottingham Forest 3-2 Stoke City
Sep 26 Arsenal 3-1 Brentford
Sep 26 Liverpool 1-2 Chelsea
Sep 26 Tottenham 2-2 Watford (4-2 pens)
Sep 26 West Ham 8-0 Macclesfield Town
Oct 2 Everton 1-1 Southampton (3-4 pens)

Carabao Cup 2018-19 second round


50 clubs participated in the second round, with the winners of the first round joined by the two remaining Championship (tier two) clubs – Swansea and Stoke City – along with the 13 Premier League clubs not included in European competition this season.

The Stadium of Light played host to the draw for the second round of the Carabao Cup on August 16, before Sunderland face Sheffield Wednesday.

Date Fixture
August 28 Leicester 4-0 Fleetwood Town
August 28 Leeds United 0-2 Preston North End
August 28 Sheffield Wednesday 0-2 Wolves
August 28 Doncaster Rovers 1-2 Blackpool
August 28 Burton Albion 1-0 Aston Villa
August 28 Hull City 0-4 Derby County
August 28 Middlesbrough 2-1 Rochdale
August 28 Blackburn Rovers 4-1 Lincoln City
August 28 West Brom 2-1 Mansfield Town
August 28 Walsall 3-3 Macclesfield Town (1-3 pens)
August 28 Stoke City 2-0 Huddersfield Town
August 28 Brighton 0-1 Southampton
August 28 Queens Park Rangers 3-1 Bristol Rovers
August 28 Wimbledon 1-3 West Ham
August 28 Fulham 2-0 Exeter City
August 28 Wycombe Wanderers 2-2 Forest Green Rovers (4-3 pens)
August 28 Cardiff City 1-3 Norwich City
August 28 Brentford 1-0 Cheltenham Town
August 28 Swansea City 0-1 Crystal Palace
August 28 Newport County 0-3 Oxford United
August 28 Bournemouth 3-0 MK Dons
August 29 Reading 0-2 Watford
August 29 Everton 3-1 Rotherham United
August 29 Millwall 3-2 Plymouth Argyle
August 29 Nottingham Forest 3-1 Newcastle United

Carabao Cup 2018-19 first round


70 clubs participated in the first round, with 24 teams from League Two (tier four), 24 from League One (tier three), and 22 from the Championship (tier two).

The draw for this round was divided between ‘northern’ and ‘southern’ sections, and teams were drawn against a team from the same section.

Date Fixture
August 14 Blackpool 3-1 Barnsley
August 14 Carlisle United 1-5 Blackburn Rovers
August 14 Crewe Alexandra 1-1 Fleetwood Town (3-4 pens.)
August 14 Grimsby Town 0-2 Rochdale
August 14 Leeds United 2-1 Bolton Wanderers
August 14 Macclesfield Town 1-1 Bradford City (4-1 pens.)
August 14 Mansfield Town 6-1 Accrington Stanley
August 14 Middlesbrough 3-3 Notts County (4-3 pens.)
August 14 Nottingham Forest 1-1 Bury (10-9 pens.)
August 14 Oldham Athletic 0-2 Derby County
August 14 Port Vale 0-4 Lincoln City
August 14 Preston North End 3-1 Morecambe
August 14 Rotherham United 3-1 Wigan Athletic
August 14 Scunthorpe United 1-2 Doncaster Rovers
August 14 Sheffield United 1-1 Hull City (4-5 pens.)
August 14 Shrewsbury Town 1-2 Burton Albion
August 14 Tranmere Rovers 1-3 Walsall
August 14 Bristol City 0-1 Plymouth Argyle
August 14 Bristol Rovers 2-1 Crawley Town
August 14 Cambridge United 1-4 Newport County
August 14 Cheltenham Town 2-2 Colchester United (6-5 pens.)
August 14 Exeter City 1-1 Ipswich Town (4-2 pens)
August 14 Millwall 0-0 Gillingham (3-1 pens.)
August 14 Milton Keynes Dons 3-0 Charlton Athletic
August 14 Norwich City 3-1 Stevenage
August 14 Oxford United 2-0 Coventry City
August 14 Portsmouth 1-2 AFC Wimbledon
August 14 Queens Park Rangers 2-0 Peterborough United
August 14 Reading 2-0 Birmingham City
August 14 Southend United 2-4 Brentford
August 14 Swindon Town 0-1 Forest Green Rovers
August 14 West Bromwich Albion 1-0 Luton Town
August 14 Wycombe Wanderers 1-1 Northampton Town (7-6 pens.)
August 14 Yeovil Town 0-1 Aston Villa
August 16 Sunderland 3-2 Sheffield Wednesday

Carabao Cup 2018-19 new rules


Manchester City lift Carabao Cup

The English Football League (EFL) clubs voted to implement a number of changes to this year’s Carabao Cup at the annual EFL Summer Conference in Portugal, held in June 2018. Extra-time will be abandoned for all rounds except for the final, with ties advancing straight to penalty shoot-outs in the nature that the scoreline is a draw at the end of regular time.

This was introduced in order to limit issues of “additional fatigue”, as Carabao Cup fixtures typically take place in the middle of the week with Premier League matches occurring at the weekend a few days before and after.

The ABBA penalty system trial was also eliminated, with the format for penalty shoot-outs now reverting to the standard ABAB penalty-taker format. 

Seeding has also been removed from the first two rounds, though the first round’s organisation relied on a regional basis.

Video assistant refereeing (VAR) has also been implemented for use at fixtures played at Premier League grounds, such as Stamford Bridge or Old Trafford.


Why is the League Cup called the Carabao Cup?


Up until 2016, the tournament was named the English Football League Cup (EFL Cup) instead of the League Cup, following the rebranding of the Football League to the English Football League.

Officially, the EFL Cup is known as the Carabao Cup due to the energy drink being the tournament’s official sponsors. The name changes depending on which brand sponsors the tournament, which is typically a brand of energy or alcoholic drink.

Prior to Carabao’s sponsorship of the tournament starting from 2017, the competition was called the EFL Cup (2016-17), the Capital One Cup (2012-13 and 2015-16), the Carling Cup (sponsored by Molsoon Coors from 2003-04 and 2011-12), the Worthington Cup (sponsored by Worthington’s from 1998-99 and 2002-03), and the Coca-Cola Cup (from 1992-93 and 1997-98).


Carabao & League Cup past winners


Liverpool Carling Cup 2012

Liverpool are the club to have won the EFL Cup the most times, winning their eighth title in 2012 when they defeated Cardiff City on penalties. They have been runners-up in the competition four times, last coming in second in 2016 when they were defeated by Manchester City in the shootout.

Manchester United’s five titles make them the club to have won the trophy the second-highest times in English football, last winning the tournament in 2017.

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Aston Villa, Chelsea and defending champions Manchester City have all won the EFL Cup five times each, with Pep Guardiola’s side most recently defeating Arsenal 3-0 in the 2018 Carabao Cup final.

Tottenham and Nottingham Forest have both won the competition four times each, with the win in 2008 being the last time the North London side last lifted a piece of silverware.

Only lists teams who have won it the most times.



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