Leicester crash out of FA Cup and it’s manager Claude Puel’s fault

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Leicester were knocked out of the 3rd round of the FA Cup after their shock loss to Newport County by 2-1 at the weekend. And the blame game should be directed at Leicester’s manager Claude Puel.

Puel made wholesale changes to his normal Premier League squad with the biggest gap being upfront with the omission of Jamie Vardy. One can only wonder why Puel has not respected the FA Cup?

Of course back in 2016 Leicester shocked everyone when they won the Premier League, something that we are not likely to see again for a very long while. But realistically speaking when the likes of a team like Leicester start the season, they are usually not going to win the league.

There are three competitions that they can win, the league, FA Cup and Carabao Cup, and only the cup competitions give teams like Leicester a realistic chance of winning. Their Carabao Cup hopes were fought with more pride but they went out at the quarter final stage against Manchester City on penalties which was very unfortunate given that they would have played Burton Albion in the semi finals- then again if they cannot Newport…..

But this match was a real shocker for them. It is one thing going out of a cup competition against the champions of England quite another against Newport. But what was Puel thinking, not to take this game seriously?

Leicester are currently 7th in the league but they are almost 20 points behind 4th place and will not be finishing in a Champions League position. At the other end they are almost 20 points from the bottom three and will not be getting relegated, so why didn’t Puel start his best team for this game and why didn’t he get the team behind this fantastic competition- after all it is a trophy at the end of the day which is up for grabs, and nothing makes sense about The Foxes attitude coming into this game. Newport always seemed like the hungrier team and now they have got their just rewards.

For Puel this is a real head shaker not to be fully committed to a cup competition. It’s true that the top 4 sides in England haven’t always taken cup competitions as seriously but then again they are challenging for the league title or a European one, Leicester are challenging for 7th place trying to get to 6th.

Puel’s attitude and other managers around him need to change as cup competitions remain the best chances to win trophies for mid table teams and Puel should be a little embarrassed about his choices at the weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manchester City get golden draw in Carabao Cup as Tottenham’s Pochettino chases first trophy

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And then there was the final four, and we now know who will play in the Carabao Cup semi finals. Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham and…. Burton, who could have guessed?

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City will be installed as the favourites to win the competition as Guardiola will chase his 3rd major trophy with the club, and they look assured of a final place since they have been drawn to face Burton. For Burton this is a magical moment make no mistake about it. Not only will they come face to face with the champions of England but they will also play at Wembley Stadium in a prestigious cup semi final and do so against one of the best managers in world football. It is indeed a dream come true for the club, and they should be very proud.

On the flipside though is that it looks like being almost impossible that they will be able to defeat City, but at least they will be given that opportunity and in some ways Burton have won just by getting to a semi final.

Chelsea remain an obvious threat and they will play Tottenham in what should be a fantastic London derby at Wembley. Of course they met here in the league just a few weeks ago where Tottenham inflicted Chelsea’s first defeat of the season in a rather comfortable 3-1 victory. But this match really could go either way and it would be very difficult to pick a winner here.

Tottenham got sweet revenge by knocking out Arsenal at the Emirates by 2-0, the same ground where they lost 4-2 in the league. This was great vindication for the club who have bounced back brilliant well since losing to their old enemy. But if Tottenham are to win their first trophy under Mauricio Pochetino then they will be doing so the hard way. Having to beat the last two champions of the Premier League in Chelsea and Manchester City, well that is how it should work out unless Burton create the shock of shocks and knock City out.

The bookmakers will see a Manchester City-Chelsea final, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see Tottenham there. Tottenham need that trophy perhaps more than the other clubs. But at the same time Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri will be looking to win his first trophy with the club. The Carabao Cup may not always be taken seriously but one thing is for sure from this moment on it will be. The semi final games will take place In January with the final to be held at Wembley Stadium on 24th February.

 

 

Everton’s season is going from bad to worse under Silva

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Marco Silva, the new Everton manager, was supposed to bring a silver lining to Everton on his arrival but after splashing the cash after 2 months of the new Premier League season has he done a good job?

Of course judging a new manager so soon after the season has started isn’t very fair and it can be argued that with suspensions and injuries Silva hasn’t been able to play his best 11 players on a regular basis. But he came as something like a saviour when he was announced as the new Everton manager and was allowed to spend upwards of £80m on new players. If we were to judge Everton right now out of 10 one would be hard pressed to give them a 5.

The Toffee Men are currently in 11th place and have 9 points after 7 games and have won 2 matches, both happened at home and both were against teams you would expect them to beat in Southampton and Fulham respectively. If Everton were to continue the season like this they would finish on 49 points which is the same they acquired last season under Sam Allardyce. Nothing would have changed despite the managerial change and the money in the summer spent. That in a nutshell, would add up to a disappointing season.

In midweek Everton were delivered a hammer blow by way of a team they had already beaten in the league when they were knocked out of the Carabao Cup to Southampton. The match finished 1-1 and the Saints won the game on penalties, all of this was compounded by the fact that Everton had lost the game at home. Exiting the Carabao Cup was indeed a massive blow for a club whose only realistic chance of silverware is this one and the FA Cup. Next year will mean that it has been 24 years since the club won a trophy.

At the weekend in the league Everton face a very strong Leicester side, the same team that Southampton will now go on to play in the next round of the Carabao Cup. Leicester will provide a stern test for the Mersey siders and it is away from home. Leicester have won 2 of their 3 games at home and the match they did lose which came against Liverpool was a close one that ended in a 2-1 defeat. The Foxes are in good form and have won their last two games in a row.

As for Everton it’s all been much ado about nothing so far, but seen as a long term project Silva is still the man who many believe will turn it around for the club. The worry is that on this evidence the team whilst not going backwards look stuck in a rut.

West Ham drawn against AFC Wimbledon in the Carabao Cup

West Ham have been drawn against AFC Wimbledon in the Carabao Cup second round this evening. The tie which will take place at Kingsmeadow is set to be played the week commencing August 27th.

The Dons, who were ball number two are unbeaten in League One this season. They defeated Fleetwood Town 1-0 in their opener before drawing 0-0 with Coventry City. They overcame Portsmouth 2-1 to progress to the second round, thanks to Joe Pigott’s strike and an 88th minute own goal from Anton Walkes. Since reforming in 2002 -after Wimbledon FC had been relocated to Milton Keynes and became MK Dons- AFC Wimbledon have never played against the Hammers. Having regained their place in the Football League in 2011, the Dons had not progressed past the first round before this campaign.

This match could be seen as an opportunity for West Ham to give some talented youngsters, such as Josh Cullen, Nathan Holland and Xande Silva some game time. It is also a chance to continue acclimatising the club’s summer signings to their new surroundings, with the likes of Issa Diop and Lucas Perez not having played any competitive minutes for the Hammers at the time of writing. Manuel Pellegrini will be keen to progress past this round in pursuit of West Ham’s first major trophy since 1980.

Last season’s Carabao Cup campaign may not have brought a trophy, but it was eventful for the Hammers. They comfortably navigated their way past Cheltenham Town and Bolton Wanderers, winning 2-0 and 3-0 respectively. They then met Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley in the fourth round in what turned out to be one of the club’s best and most exciting matches of the season.

With 38 minutes on the clock against Spurs, West Ham found themselves 2-0 down following strikes from Moussa Sissoko and Dele Alli. However, a brace from Andre Ayew, which was completed on the hour mark, got West Ham right back into the tie. Ten minutes after the equaliser, Italian centre back Angelo Ogbonna rose above Son Heung-min, Kieran Trippier and Toby Alderweireld to head Manuel Lanzini’s corner ball past Michel Vorm. The Hammers managed to defend their lead, setting up a quarter final tie away against Arsenal.

However, David Moyes –who had taken over from Slaven Bilic- decided to rest key players against the Gunners. Unlike his predecessor Bilic, the Scotsman’s sole aim was the Premier League. This was clear to see, as the inform Marko Arnautovic was given just seven minutes at the end of the tie. It turned out to be an anticlimactic finish to the club’s Carabao Cup campaign, as a scrappy Danny Welbeck goal in the 42nd minute secured Arsenal’s progression to the semi final from what was a very tame affair.

The Hammers have never won the League Cup before in their history, coming second place twice. However, their manager Pellegrini has been successful in the competition. The Chilean tactician won the tournament in two of his three campaigns with current Premier League champions Manchester City.

Pellegrini will be hoping he can continue his impressive record in the competition with a win against AFC Wimbledon.

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