10 Premier League players with a point to prove in the Carabao Cup

Antony can put Man City petulance behind him, Aaron Ramsdale has a rare chance to win his place back, while Nicolas Jackson needs a confidence boost… 10 players with a point to prove in Carabao Cup

  • Number of players are struggling to showcase their talents in the Premier league 
  • Wednesday’s Carabao Cup ties could offer some the chance to build up form 
  • Manchester United and Chelsea are looking to bounce back after the weekend 

Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup games offer a great chance to players with something to prove, either due to lack of game time or indifferent form.

Ten Premier League clubs are in action including Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea.

With managers often using the competition to make changes, it could be a big night in particular for these following players…

ANTONY (Manchester United v Newcastle)

The £85million winger hasn’t been the game-changer Erik ten Hag dreamed of and received criticism for his petulance as a late substitute against Manchester City on Sunday, more interested in kicking the opposition than creating for his team.

Antony has struggled both on the pitch and off it in a turbulent start to Man United’s campaign

The winger was most recently involved in a reckless scrap with Man City’s Jeremy Doku after coming on as a substitute in the Manchester derby

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The Brazilian has had off-field difficulties this season but United really need him to show his best form now given their own difficulties.

At least the arrival of Newcastle might bring back good memories. One of his best moments in a red shirt was beating the Toon at Wembley in last season’s EFL Cup final.

BETO (Everton v Burnley) 

The 25-year-old striker was hailed as Everton’s great hope when he arrived shortly before the transfer window closed but has so far been overshadowed by Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Beto’s only goal so far for the club came in the Carabao Cup at Doncaster but with Calvert-Lewin needed to stay fresh for Premier League duty, the powerful Portuguese centre-forward has a chance to step up and show Goodison Park what he can do.

Beto’s arrival (centre) on Merseyside has been overshadowed by the resurgence of Dominic Calvert-Lewin

CODY GAKPO (Bournemouth v Liverpool)

The battle between Darwin Nunez, Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz and Gakpo for two starting places up front alongside Mo Salah is fascinating.

Gakpo had a goal disallowed after he came on as a substitute in Liverpool’s last Premier League game against Nottingham Forest but with Diaz currently unavailable while he deals with the awful kidnap of his father in Colombia, the Dutchman should get a chance to start on the south coast.

The Dutchman has had a mixed first year at Anfield, scoring 10 goals but also taking time to settle in Jurgen Klopp’s system and being asked to play in different positions.

Cody Gakpo has had a mixed first year in red but is impressing when he gets his time to shine

Kai Havertz has failed to convert his Arsenal appearances into goals and is losing his grasp on first-team football

KAI HAVERTZ (West Ham v Arsenal)

Havertz’s only goal so far this season was a penalty at Bournemouth given to him out of sympathy by team-mates. It is time the £65million German began to justify his price tag and this tie with Mikel Arteta bound to make changes looks a perfect fit.

Havertz has lost the regular starting berth given to him by Arteta at the start of the season and needs to show end product to win his place back.

West Ham might be the right opposition to wheel him out. David Moyes’ side is traditionally strong in the air and that is one area where the 24-year-old is effective in both penalty areas.

NICOLAS JACKSON (Chelsea v Blackburn)

Three goals in 11 appearances is a poor return for a striker who cost Chelsea £35million from Villarreal in the summer. He was criticised by England great Alan Shearer at the weekend for a lack of movement during a poor defeat against Brentford.

A fit and firing Jackson might be expected to have the night off given Chelsea’s other injuries up front but Mauricio Pochettino might see this competition against Championship opposition as an ideal way to boost his confidence with a goal or two.

The 22-year-old did score the winner in the last round against Brighton.

Nicolas Jackson has yet to deliver on his pre-season promise and has recently come under fire as Chelsea’s No 1 striker

But the Senegal forward has snatched some opportunities, and last scored against Burnley

REECE JAMES (Chelsea v Blackburn)

Named Chelsea’s club captain at the start of the season, there has been an enormous sense of frustration that James was injured in the opening game against Liverpool and only just returned to make two appearances off the bench.

This will therefore be the 23-year-old’s first start since August and Mauricio Pochettino will be delighted to see him back, particularly with Chelsea facing tricky league fixtures starting with a trip to Spurs on Monday.

Despite his still relatively young age, James offers a wealth of experience and that power and impetus down the right, either as full-back and wing-back, will be crucial if Chelsea are to overcome a poor opening to the season. Advancing into the quarter-finals will give them a lift.

Reece James had had his time in the captain’s armband severely limited due to injuries

TINO LIVRAMENTO (Manchester United v Newcastle)

Opportunities for the young £30million right-back are limited due to the continuing excellence of Kieran Trippier. So when the chance arrives – as it will be at Old Trafford with the England international due to be given a rest – Livramento has to grab it.

The 20-year-old’s only previous start following his summer move from Southampton came in this competition against Manchester City.

Though Trippier is virtually undroppable, an impressive showing against United at least gives Eddie Howe the option of playing Livramento on the right and Trippier on the left, where he’s done well for England.

Tino Livramento has been on the wrong end of Kieran Trippier’s blistering form for Newcastle

Mason Mount could be given a chance to take his lacklustre season by the scruff of the neck

MASON MOUNT (Manchester United v Newcastle)

The England midfielder has been disappointing in a United shirt so far, affected by the general malaise at Old Trafford and frequent changes in line-ups and formations.

There is no doubt Erik ten Hag wanted his energy and technical ability for a reason when paying £60million to bring him in from Chelsea. He’ll surely be given a chance tonight. 

AARON RAMSDALE (West Ham v Arsenal)

The England international has barely played since Mikel Arteta boldly announced he had two No1 goalkeepers. If the manager sticks with David Raya, whose form has been iffy in recent games, at The London Stadium, Ramsdale might as well get his bags packed for a January move.

Ramsdale is considered extremely unlucky to have lost his place, he’s not done anything wrong but Arteta feels Raya’s passing range suits the style he wants at Arsenal.

The only way 25-year-old Ramsdale can respond is go and keep a clean sheet at West Ham if called upon. If he does well, there will be a conversation about whether he should stay in for the next Premier League game.

Aaron Ramsdale has all but lost his regular start to new recruit David Raya at the Emirates

In a bid to unseat the Spaniard (left) the England international could impress in a London derby

Raphael Varane was omitted from Erik ten Hag’s derby plans but will likely start on Wednesday

RAPHAEL VARANE (Manchester United v Newcastle)

One of the oddities of United’s surrender in the Manchester derby was World Cup winner Rafa Varane left on the bench while Harry Maguire, Jonny Evans and Victor Lindelof were selected ahead of him.

If it was meant to be a clever tactical ploy by Erik ten Hag to combat the physical presence of Erling Haaland, it backfired. Surely Varane will be recalled for this Carabao Cup tie with United desperate for someone of his experience and leadership skills.

The Frenchman is susceptible to injuries but when he’s played this season he has looked a class above anyone else in the heart of the United back-four.


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