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Carabao Cup talking points – Protests, long-awaited returns and brotherly love

It’s been a busy night of action in the second round of the Carabao Cup with 22 ties taking place – here are five talking points

Everton secured a win at Huddersfield in the second round of the Carabao Cup

Whopping amount of changes

There were nine Premier League sides in second round action tonight.

And perhaps the clearest indication of where this competition sits in their list of their priorities was the fact that a sobering 73 combined changes were made.

That equates to roughly eight each and more than a few of the sides suffered the odd scare tonight, albeit all seven up against lower league opposition avoided an upset.

Of course, the riches on offer in the top flight means finishing 17th in the top flight will always assume priority over a cup competition and in mitigation there were plenty of alterations made by EFL sides – some even going the whole hog and revamping their entire XI.

But would a rule limiting the number of changes, similar to the EFL Trophy, make sense to try and preserve the integrity of the competition?



Everton made nine changes for their EFL Cup tie at Huddersfield




Comebacks aplenty

As well as goals, thrills, shocks and penalties, tonight brought its fair share of poignant comebacks too.

First, Neil Etheridge for Birmingham City. The goalkeeper has been heavily affected after contracting Covid-19 this summer.

The 31-year-old first tested positive on City’s pre-season tour to Scotland in June and ended up spending several days in hospital so starting tonight’s game with Fulham would have meant plenty to him.



Adam Forshaw made his first Leeds United start for almost two years




For Adam Forshaw, his wait for a return has been much longer.

The Leeds United midfielder has been ravaged by injuries and tonight’s visit of Crewe Alexandra represented his first senior appearance since September 2019. When his name was read out at Elland Road it was greeted with huge cheers by an appreciative home support.

And another player whose long wait for a run-out ended tonight was Everton’s Jean-Philippe Gbamin. The Ivorian has been plagued by injuries since arriving on Merseyside, with a serious thigh muscle strain and ruptured Achilles tendon laying him low for the best part of two years.

The 25-year-old started tonight’s narrow win over Huddersfield – his first in 738 days – and he will be hoping it is the start of a fresh era under Rafa Benitez.

Oldham protests

Just like their League Two game against Colchester at the weekend, a portion of Oldham fans brought their tie with Accrington to a halt by throwing tennis balls on the Boundary Park pitch early into the contest.

Hundreds were chucked in from one end of the ground, whilst there was also a flare that entered the playing field.

Whilst the scenes are not what anyone wants to see, it shows the sheer frustration of long-suffering Oldham fans towards their owners.

Athletic are rock-bottom of the EFL and fans are worried about the future of their club – and are firmly pointing the finger at owner Abdallah Lemsagam.







The incident caused a short delay against Stanley in a game that was, in truth, short on quality and duly finished 0-0.

The Latics hadn’t progressed past this stage of the competition since 2003 but a penalty shoot-out win ensured a slightly happier end to the night for those unhappy fans.

North West pair on the way back

Wigan were finalists in this competition back in 2006, Bolton two years before that.

That was when the North-west pair were Premier League regulars. Since then they’ve both had their fair share of troubles, in the boardroom and on the pitch. They’ve each dropped as low as the fourth division but there is a growing sense of optimism at both clubs, separated by roughly 11 miles.



Bolton took a big following to Wigan tonight




Bolton were promoted out of League Two last season after a terrific second half of the season whilst Wigan survived the drop from League One by the skin of their teeth.

They met tonight with both fanbases suddenly refuelled with belief.

Unfortunately, a boisterous and passionate crowd of more than 11,500 at the DW Stadium (including more than a third of those travelling from Bolton) witnessed a below-par goalless affair that was ultimately settled on penalties with Wigan eventually coming out on top.

But tonight’s result aside, both clubs are certainly on the up.

Brotherly love at Barrow



Cameron Archer hit a treble for Aston Villa




Much was made of Barrow’s first-ever meeting with a Premier League side as they welcomed Aston Villa to Holker Street.

There was a reason the Sky Sports cameras were in town. They, and the heaving home crowd, were hopeful of witnessing an upset.

But it didn’t come close to happening, with Villa cruising to a 6-0 win.







And as well as a bucketful of goals for his team, Dean Smith also had some brotherly love in his side.

A glance at the Villa teamsheet showed an extremely unfamiliar quirk, with Smith selecting not one but two pairs of brothers in his 18-man squad.

Carney Chukwuemeka was handed his first-ever start for the visitors and in what was a nice touch, his older brother Caleb came off the bench in the second half to replace him.

Also starting on the bench was another pair of siblings. Jacob Ramsey was a regular sight in the first team last year and he sat alongside his younger brother Aaron, aged 18. And it was the latter who got on the pitch late on as Smith’s men ran riot on a memorable night for fellow academy graduate Cameron Archer, who notched a hat-trick.

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