Tag Archives: carabao cup

All Cup Finals Should Not Be Played at Wembley – Agree?

I was at the National League play-off final yesterday at Wembley Stadium. A great occasion for the fans of course, however, a mere 8,049 were inside the 90,000 capacity ground.

Next week is the FA Trophy final, an average crowd over the years of around 15,000 to 17,000 – similar to that of the National League Playoffs. However, again it will look lost inside the vast Wembley backdrop.

Yesterday seen two northern teams travel down to the Capital, each with an approx four-hour drive there and back. Early starts, late getting home. It’s a long day for the fans, although the flow of beer for many will help.

I was sat next to some rather tipsy Salford fans waiting for the underground, who just wanted to get home – this was 7 o’clock at night in Wembley Central. I didn’t get home myself until 10:30 pm.

Was it worth it for them Salford fans? Without a doubt, yes.

Nevertheless, my gripe with the use of Wembley is this, yes it’s a great day out and something not every fan will experience watching their team at the iconic ground. However, I don’t understand why if two northern teams are in a final, we have a nominated ground in the north – like Old Trafford of the Etihad.

Similar if it’s a northern and southern team, we have a neutral ground in the Midlands like Villa Park.

Leave the League Cup Final, the three EFL play-off finals and the FA Cup ONLY to be played at Wembley. The rest play at neutral grounds, because let’s face it FA Cup semi-finals are not a Wembley showpiece. They take the edge off truly getting to a Wembley final and, it’s double the expense for the travelling fans.

It would be easier for the money spending fans to get to, more fans would be more likely to go with shorter travelling distances and it would pump money into different parts of the country.

Yesterday could have been played at the Etihad. The numbers would have definitely been more and the chance to play at a Premier League stadium would have still been a massive day out.

This all will never happen of course, but in common sense terms, it makes total sense to all.

Why Pep and His Team Will Dominate The Premier League For Years To Come

When I started writing this, out of curiosity I googled when it was that Joey Barton mooned some Everton fans, it was a mere 12 years ago. Around that time I was travelling to watch City be beaten by Charlton, Reading and Wigan and couldn’t have imagined that in that short window City would become completely imperious domestically, and a real force to be reckoned with in Europe. Noisy neighbours, we are most definitely not anymore.

Cynically it is easy to say City under Pep have a lot of money, and there is no point pretending that top-level success is possible without big money backers, however, rich clubs do sometimes struggle in the league, and having money doesn’t necessarily mean it is always well spent. Clever decisions need to be made or you can be saddled with expensive players on huge wages who are just getting a run out in the Carabao Cup a couple of times a season.

Pep inherited some fantastic players that were well established in the team, De Bruyne, Aguero, Silva to name but a few, however, he has managed some exceptional signings, Gundogan being his first, setting a high bar. Obvious standouts with regards to goals to their names would be Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus, and the genius signing of Ederson.

There have obviously been a few less successful signings, and that is inevitable, however generally Pep has a good eye for the transfer market, and being able to bring new talent in, as well as developing and improving his current squad means there in constant competition to be in the starting line up. Meaning everyone needs to be at the top of their game all of the time, even Aguero has seen the likes of Jesus snapping at his heels as the chief striker.

This means that there is no getting a two-goal cushion in matches and sitting back, everyone plays ruthlessly and to their best all of the time, which means they often get impressive scorelines, further cementing their reputation, and making them hard to crack, as they simply don’t switch off

Tactically City are remarkable to watch, the pace, speed of passing, accuracy, pressing high and hard on and off the ball and remarkable amounts of possession help to make them so impressive. They have very much developed their own style of play, which did take some time to perfect.

Guardiola’s’ first season took a lot of adjustment and some fans were underwhelmed with the first set of results. However, with players adapting increasingly well to this, and domestically at least, other teams finding this very hard to play against, City are looking seasons ahead of other teams.

Football that people, and most importantly the fans want to watch is good for everyone. Modern football is a pretty fickle affair, and managerial positions can be incredibly short-lived, and the longer clubs can keep off the merry-go-round the better for everyone.

Security can breed success, fans being happy with the manager means there is no pressure or negativity. The manager being secure in his role means the players are more secure in theirs, they have a place in the squad, they will not have to adapt their style of play to a new manager every season, and players stay long haul, which means they aren’t having to spend time adjusting to playing with huge number of new faces every season. Which means fewer mistakes on the pitch, better results, and more importantly, the fans and the board are happy.

Add this to the spending power it becomes a club players want to go to, which goes back to my earlier point about competition to be in the squad, meaning everyone is always playing as well as possible, which further feeds into getting excellent results. It’s a great cycle and it’s hard to see where this will fail.

It’s a fine balance, but currently, City have got it about right, and while the clubs history itself serves to show quickly things can change for better or worse, it’s hard to see a return to the days of finishing 15th, relegation and inflatable Bananas (which for what it’s worth I think are overdue a return).

Pep Should Continue to Blood The Youngsters When City Resume Carabao Cup Action

Despite not being a top priority for Premier League title-chasing clubs, the Carabao Cup offers City the chance to continue to breed in their young guns.

Last time out, eighteen-year-old and boyhood City fan – Phil Foden made his mark against Oxford in the last round, capping off a wonderful night with his first goal for the club.

City’s academy are surely banking on Foden and co to deliver on the big stage in the future.

The reigning Carabao Cup holders take on Premier League strugglers Fulham tomorrow night, and it would be nice to see how these academy graduates perform.

Brahim Diaz

It’s been a long while seen we saw Diaz in a City shirt. In fact, it was the last round at League Two Oxford when the Spaniard stepped over the white line. Reports suggest Diaz is unlikely to remain in Manchester in the long run, with Spanish giants Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund amongst the teams who have been interested.

A place for the City winger in tomorrows starting eleven may give Diaz some believe that his football career lies here in Manchester.

Despite the Nineteen-year-olds future up in the air, it would be nice to see him make a rare start against the Cottagers tomorrow night.

Arijanet Muric

A slightly surprise selection, however, it is most likely City’s current number two goalkeeper Muric will get the nod in goal tomorrow again.

With Claudio Bravo unavailable through injury, the nineteen-year-old will again start for City as he fills the void of ‘domestic cup goalkeeper’.

Tomorrow will again see the young goalie get a chance to impress under the spotlights. The chances of him featuring in sky blue permanently are very little at this moment. Yet a good game tomorrow should ease all nerves that the Kosovan is a more than a fitting replacement should Ederson suffer an injury.

United Fans Are In a Busby to Fergie Era, Is Failure To Be Accepted?

Another morning, another feeling of frustration overcomes the Manchester United fans, following defeat to Frank Lampard’s Derby last night.

The Red Devils, as per usual started well scoring within the few minutes of the match. A few chances later in the first half and the game should have been all but put to bed, with United fans feeling differently this morning.

However, what seems to be a growing theme with this Mourinho side is that they can start well, but seem to fall off as the match progresses.

We have seen it twice in the space of a week against Wolves and Derby last night.

Talk of Jose Mourinho losing the dressing room, his battle with Paul Pogba for control over Old Trafford and reported rift with chairman Ed Woodward is not making United the invincible outfit they once were.

Many Reds point out on a regular basis of the United Way. As United fans, it’s time to realise that, that era in the Premier League is over and it’s time to move on.

After Sir Matt Busby, United’s following 17 years were in total, bleak. A couple of cup wins couldn’t mask over the failure of success to the point United were relegated.

Fergie was our era’s Busby, and it may not be 17 years until another one-of-a-kind manager comes along. However, until that point, defeats and performances like recent times under Mourinho and the previous two managers – not that they have to be accepted – moreover, that’s the way of life at Old Trafford.

Fergie was an incredible man manager and his ability to win what he won, or even matches with a team that many fans scoff at was an unbeleivable trait. Something United are missing and will be until the next Busby/Fergie comes along.

Phil Foden is a Prime Reason Why We Can Never Abolish The Carabao Cup

The third goal in a routine three-nil win can sometimes be forgotten fairly quickly.

The third goal in City’s 3-0 at Oxford will be remembered by those associated with Manchester City’s academy and will most certainly never be forgotten, especially those responsible for the rise of Phil Foden.

His performance at The Kassam Stadium on last night was for the record books. The ball he gave to Brahim Diaz which lead to Gabriel Jesus’s opening goal was one, David Silva or Kevin De Bruyne would have been proud of.

You would have been forgiven for thinking it was either of those players too.

Yet if it wasn’t for the Carabao Cup, the chances of seeing Foden in this form would have been unlikely.

Anybody who cares about the development of young players would have hoped to have seen more of Foden so far in the Premier League, particularly in wins against Fulham and Huddersfield.

It seems a shame that when Foden has been discussed its been to say how little game time he gets. That’s why his performance at Oxford was so important.

There was a knee slide in front of the travelling City supporters after his maiden goal. The one that glossed over City’s win. If any fans thought he lacked style off the pitch as well as on it, he certainly made them eat their words.

To those who believed he needs to on loan to continue his development away from the Etihad to achieve his potential, he made them eat their words twice over.

The Carabao Cup may well be bottom of City’s priority list this season, yet it should be top of Foden’s and so it should be, Foden’s performances in this competition may make or break his career.

That’s why we should always be thankful for the Carabao Cup. Phil Foden most certainly should.