Last night in the Capital One Cup delivered a couple of upsets, extra-time, some close calls and even the odd drubbing. Just goes to show that cup football can be fun, no matter what the cup in question happens to be.
Well, fun if you happen to be watching the scores come in as a neutral or are a fan of a winning team. If you were one of the 700 Sheffield Wednesday fans who made it down to St Mary's to watch your team lose 2-0 last night, Early Doors salutes you.
It would have been fun for the Leeds fans who, after a start to the season which could barely be more average as they sit 12th in the Championship, deservedly beat an Everton side which ED is contractually obliged to describe as 'high-flying'.
The majority of the 32,000 inside Stamford Bridge last night were also able to toast a successful evening's work as they thrashed Wolves 6-0. Roberto Di Matteo sent out a team selection with the intention of winning and winning big, while his opposite number Stale Solbakken was only too happy to oblige with starting XI including several fringe players.
Oriol Romeu and Victor Moses both scored their first goals for the club, Fernando Torres netted his first in four games and John Terry made the journey from Wembley with plenty of time to play 90 minutes. All in all, it was a good night for Chelsea ahead of Saturday's trip to the Emirates Stadium.
For Manchester City, last season's beaten semi-finalists, it was not such a pleasant evening. Yesterday ED wrote of how a convincing result would help give the Premier League champions a much-needed lift to the start of their season which, while an unbeaten one, hardly had the air of a team at the peak of its powers.
Instead, it was Aston Villa who earned their flagging campaign a boost with a 4-2 win at the Etihad Stadium in extra time. The result was only Villa's second win of the season against Premier League opposition as Paul Lambert struggles to undo all the impressive amount of damage his predecessor Alex McLeish managed to do in such a short space of time.
Despite twice going behind to a City side that included Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli in the starting line-up, Villa showed plenty of fighting spirit to win the tie 4-2 in the additional half-hour.
There was plenty of fighting spirit on the touchline, too, as Lambert clashed with opposite number Roberto Mancini on the touchline when the Italian appeared to be calling for a Villa player to be booked.
Mancini was happy to admit Villa were the better side on the night ("I think it was a difficult match because Aston Villa are a good team, we didn't play well"), but he saved some ire for Lambert's reaction to what he claimed was just talking to the fourth official, not waving an imaginary card.
"I am tired of this manager because I didn't say nothing to him, I only asked [the fourth official] if it was a yellow card without moving my hands," he said, before asking for a blanket and a comfy chair. "I am tired of it, very tired."
City's continual defensive problems, something Mancini acknowledged is a problem ("we need to work with our defenders because they are not working well at this moment") will no doubt be discussed at length between now and the weekend's Premier League games, but the night should belong to Villa.
"It's a massive result for us, really huge," said Lambert. "I'm delighted with the way we played."
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "We've been talking to John to see what his mindset is and he's been very positive and upbeat and he wanted to play. John is always very enthusiastic about playing. He's fine, he's been dealing with the situation at hand... and there was no problem with the selection process. We wanted John to start. We got a phone call to say he was on his way back from Wembley nice and early so it was an easy decision. It was also a very positive thing for the club that he played another 90 minutes for us." — Chelsea assistant manager Eddie Newton was delighted John Terry could play against Wolves. The Chelsea captain has not trained since last week due to his FA hearing at Wembley, which goes into its third day this morning.
FOREIGN VIEW: "You can't always crush your opponents, you also have to be good at reading the match, containing them, which is what we did tonight." - Juventus assistant coach Massimo Carrera reacts to the 0-0 draw with Fiorentina which ends the champions' 100 per cent start to the season but extends their unbeaten run to 44 games. Head coach Antonio Conte watched the match from the club channel's commentary box.
COMING UP: You can check out our in-depth video analysis at Chelsea midfielder Oscar and also watch our top five goals of the week before voting for your favourite, while Jim White and Andy Mitten will be filing their latest columns.
Then this evening the remaining six Capital One Cup third-round matches kick off — including Manchester United v Newcastle United, Arsenal v Coventry City and West Bromwich Albion v Liverpool - and you can follow live coverage of them all from 19:45.
- Sports & Recreation
- Aston Villa
- John Terry