Carabao Cup draw: battle of the Premier League’s young stars
In the fourth round Liverpool will face Arsenal and Chelsea host Man Utd
The fourth round draw of the Carabao Cup has thrown up two mouthwatering all-Premier League clashes that will end two of the big six’s interest in the competition.
Liverpool’s reward for beating MK Dons 2-0 on Wednesday night is a home tie against Arsenal, while Manchester United travel to Chelsea, who thrashed Grimsby 7-1.
If Jurgen Klopp and Unai Emery continue their policy of using the Carabao Cup to blood their young stars then Liverpool against Arsenal will be an intriguing glimpse into the clubs’ futures.
The Gunners’s 5-0 win against Nottingham Forest on Tuesday was inspired by their youngsters, and Liverpool fielded four teenagers as they overcame League One side MK Dons.
One of them, 17-year-old Ki-Jana Hoever, scored the Reds’s second goal, while Harvey Elliott became the youngest player to start a competitive match for Liverpool at 16 years and 174 days.
“They are all good, we can’t have bad young players, they are all really skilled,” Liverpool boss Klopp said of his teenage quartet.
“That’s why it’s important we can give them these matches, and we will try to continue like this.”
Man Utd were also reliant on adolescence to scrape past Rochdale, in what was another dispiriting night for fans at Old Trafford.
Despite peppering the Rochdale goal with speculative efforts, United didn’t manage to find the net until 17-year-old Mason Greenwood scored with a low shot on 68 minutes.
But eight minutes later the League One outfit were level, thanks to a stunning strike from 16-year-old Luke Matheson. That took the tie to penalties and United held their nerve to win the shoot-out 5-3.
“As you normally are when it gets tight, you’re happy when you win, you’re through and you learn again about different things,” said Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The United boss fielded a couple of other teenagers in Brandon Williams and Tahith Chong, and the Norwegian hinted that the fans might be seeing more of these youngsters in the coming months as he tries to reboot United’s season.
“We just have to take one game at a time but also we’ve got more than one eye on the future,” he said.
“We know we have to change things throughout the club and we are doing that. It’s a great stage for some of the youngsters to prove themselves and there were one or two that really did.
“I think Mason shows again he’s a goal-scorer and you’ve seen Brandon coming on, really assured performance on his debut, fantastic debut.”
James stars for Chelsea
At Stamford Bridge 19-year-old Chelsea full-back Reece James produced a man-of-the-match performance in the 7-1 thrashing of Grimsby.
The teenager scored Chelsea’s fifth and also had a hand in goals for Michy Batshuayi and Kurt Zouma.
Blues boss Frank Lampard said: “With his end product, Reece James showed what he can do. Two assists and a goal, but Reece’s performances on loan last year at Wigan showed the talent he has got.
“I think he is going to be a big player for this club. It is just the start for Reece.”
Another highlight for Chelsea was the return from injury of Callum Hudson-Odoi. The England forward, 18, also scored in the rout.
Carabao Cup fourth round draw
Ties will take place in the week starting 28 October
- Everton vs. Watford
- Aston Villa vs. Wolves
- Manchester City vs. Southampton
- Burton vs. Leicester
- Crawley vs. Colchester
- Chelsea vs. Manchester United
- Oxford vs. Sunderland
- Liverpool vs. Arsenal
Carabao Cup third round results
- Colchester United 0 Tottenham Hotspur 0 (Colchester won 4-3 on penalties)
- Crawley Town 1 Stoke City 1 (Crawley won 5-3 on penalties)
- Luton Town 0 Leicester City 4
- Portsmouth 0 Southampton 4
- Preston North End 0 Manchester City 3
- Sheffield Wednesday 0 Everton 2
- Watford 2 Swansea City 1
- Arsenal 5 Nottingham Forest 0
- Brighton 1 Aston Villa 3
- Burton 2 Bournemouth 0
- Chelsea 7 Grimsby 1
- MK Dons 0 Liverpool 2
- Oxford United 4 West Ham United 0
- Sheffield United 0 Sunderland 1
- Wolves 1 Reading 1 (Wolves won 4-2 on penalties)
- Man Utd 1 Rochdale 1 (Man Utd won 5-3 on penalties)