This week’s Capital One Cup fixtures produced quite the spectacle for a variety of reasons. Sunderland’s triumph is surely a heart warmer for the neutral supporters, while City continued their impressive march.
It was more misery for David Moyes and Sam Allardyce however, as United and West Ham continued their respective slumps. Both managers face growing pressure after a string of poor results. United have slumped to their fifth defeat in the year of 2014, three at Old Trafford.
West Ham have now lost five of their last six, including maulings from Man City and Nottingham Forest, which they lost 6-0 and 5-0 respectively.
The week’s fixtures also revealed much about the future of Premier League, with young stars Adnan Junazaj of United and Marcos Lopes of City taking center stage. Here is a look at the week’s top moments.
1. De Gea blunder
Not new to indifferent form, De Gea’s latest gaffe may have cost David Moyes more than a place at Wembley. The Spaniard carelessly mishandled Phil Bardsley’s seemingly speculative effort, which rolled into the path of De Gea who could do nothing but watch after allowing the ball to slip through his grip.
A horrified De Gea hung his head as the ball nestled into the side net, much to the delirium of Sunderland. The goal came in the dying moments of extra time and would have sent United home, barring a Hernandez equalizer less than a minute later to send the match to penalties.
2. Penalty debacle
Penalty shootouts can be a nervy affair for players as well as supporters. Wednesday’s contest between United and Sunderland proved to be just that, as a remarkable six players missed the mark. Craig Gardner and Danny Welback skied their efforts, as did Phil Jones. Adnan Junizaj saw his tame effort easily handled by Vito Mannone, while Steven Fletcher’s would be winning effort was marvelously denied by an acrobatic De Gea save. Mannone in the Sunderland goal was the hero on the night as he read Rafael to deny the Brazilian, palming away his effort down to his right hand side.
3. Big Sam in danger
No sign of relief for Sam Allardyce as West Ham’s woes continued. The Hammers entered the second leg on the wrong end of a whopping 6-0 deficit, after being thrashed at the Etihad. Man City showed no signs of letting up, and only took three minutes to pile on the agony. Alvaro Negredo headed home to wrap up an already certain result. Segio Aguero added another before Negredo got his second, to round off a miserable night for West Ham. The match ended 3-0, 9-0 on aggregate, as City cruised into Wembley, condemning the Hammers to their fifth defeat in their last six matches.
4. Marcos Lopes
The young Portuguese put in an impressive performance, threatening on the wings and pulling the strings for many of City’s attack. Lopes made the switch to Manchester after spending time in his native land with Benfica.
After impressing for the youth academy, Lopes made his first senior appearance on Tuesday night, and many would make the case that it won’t be his last. It was the 18-year-old who was responsible for creating City’s second, when he glided past three West Ham players before flicking through to Aguero who beat two more defenders before dispatching his effort past the oncoming Jaaskelainen. Lopes is certainly one for the future.
5. Adnan Januzaj
Januzaj has been the shining light of United’s otherwise dismal campaign. He continued his string of dazzling performances on Wednesday night. The young Belguim international was lively throughout and spearheaded much of United attacks; including providing the assist for Havier Hernandez’s dramatic last minute equaliser. After a clever exchange with Chris Smalling, Junazaj slipped a low cross to the back post where Hernandez tapped into an empty net. The Janujaz and Hernandez combination almost broke the deadlock early in the proceedings, when Janujaz’s cross from a set piece met the oncoming Hernandez. Mannone did well to deny the Mexicans downward header. Aside from a dreadful penalty and few sliced shots, Januzaj put in a man-of-the match worthy performance.
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