(Photo: Action Images via Reuters)
By Alex Beard
They gave it a valiant effort, but in the end Wolves came up just short in their attempt to be the first team to defeat Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City this season, losing 4-1 on penalties in the Carabao Cup Round of 16 after a goalless draw at the Etihad Stadium.
Both managers made nine changes from their weekend excursions against Burnley and Preston respectively, although Jack Price and Ben Marshall aren’t quite replacements on the level of Yaya Toure and Ilkay Gundogan. They played like them though, with Wolves giving as good as they got for 120 minutes.
In normal time, Sergio Aguero missed a slew of chances – denying him the opportunity to become City’s outright all-time leading scorer – and Wolves’ Bright Enobakhare was twice denied by Claudio Bravo.
And it was the much-derided Chilean who would eventually secure the Premier League leaders’ passage through to the quarter-finals, saving from Alfred N’Diaye and Conor Coady in the shoot-out, which allowed Aguero’s successful penalty to send City through.
It was a much sweeter night at Ashton Gate, where Bristol City came from a goal down to knock a third Premier League team out of the Carabao Cup this season.
It was Crystal Palace on this occasion, following Watford and Stoke, who were undone by Lee Johnson’s side, heaping the misery once more on beleaguered Eagles manager Roy Hodgson.
Palace’s one shining light, Bakary Sako, put the visitors ahead after 21 minutes but they were pegged back 13 minutes later by Matty Taylor. Another five minutes passed and the Robins were in the lead, Milan Djuric smashing the ball past Wayne Hennessey.
Second half strikes from Joe Bryan and Callum O’Dowda secured the win for Bristol City, and gave the Robins the remarkable distinction of having beaten more Premier League sides this season (3) than Crystal Palace have (2).
Lee Johnson’s men will be the sole second tier representatives in the quarter-finals, however, as the rest of the Championship hopefuls were dismissed by their top flight big brothers.
At the Emirates Stadium, Norwich had chances to win but were ultimately beaten 2-1 by Arsenal in extra time. 18-year-old Eddie Nketiah drew the Gunners level 15 seconds after coming off the bench, before securing their passage through with a second in extra time.
Norwich had been in front for 51 minutes prior to Nketiah’s introduction, with Josh Murphy scoring with a sumptuous dink over Arsenal ‘keeper Matt Macey on 34 minutes.
The hosts made 11 changes from their thrashing of Everton on Sunday, and the lack of cohesion showed for the majority of the encounter, with the Canaries proving themselves to be a disciplined and intelligent side under Daniel Farke.
Unfortunately it wasn’t to be for Norwich in the end. They will now turn their attention back to their promotion bid, with an important Championship clash against Derby on the horizon.
Leeds were another second tier side that came up short having led, as manager-less Leicester City eventually put them to the sword with ruthless efficiency at the King Power Stadium last night.
Experienced midfielder Pablo Hernandez had put the visitors ahead after 26 minutes, but the Foxes quickly hit back through Kelechi Iheanacho’s first goal for the club.
Second half efforts from Islam Slimani and substitute Riyad Mahrez wrapped up the win for Leicester, and Thomas Christiansen will see this game as an opportunity missed for his side.
Middlesbrough were the final Championship team in action last night, but they fared as well as Leeds – succumbing to a 3-1 defeat at Bournemouth.
Cherries striker Callum Wilson, hopefully finally putting his injury hell behind him, was the star of the show for Eddie Howe’s side, scoring his team’s second from the penalty spot and setting up strike partner Benik Afobe for their third.
Before that Bournemouth debutant Jack Simpson had volleyed the hosts into the lead at the Vitality Stadium, with his fellow youngster Marcus Tavernier replying with his first senior goal for Boro.
Ultimately Garry Monk’s side were outmatched as their indifferent start to the season continued. The former Swansea and Leeds boss will hope for better fortune against Reading this weekend.
Full list of results:
Arsenal 2-1 Norwich City (AET)
Bournemouth 3-1 Middlesbrough
Bristol City 4-1 Crystal Palace
Leicester City 3-1 Leeds United
Swansea City 0-2 Manchester United
Manchester City 0-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers (AET) (City win 4-1 on penalties)