Who will put one foot in the Carabao Cup final when the semi-final first legs kick off this week? Before the action starts, get a load of these sensational stats
From Thursday 9 January, 7.30pm, Sky Sports Football/HD (CH 513/503) + Sky Sports Main Event/HD (CH 501/511)
Certain philosophical questions have dogged humanity since the dawn of time: What is the nature of reality? What is the meaning of life? And why does the EFL Cup (sponsored this year by Carabao) have every round as a straight knockout apart from the semi-final, which is a two-legged affair? Not that we’re complaining, mind you. Two leg ties mean double the fun, and if the competition so far this season is anything to go by, the excitement is guaranteed.
To date, the Carabao Cup has given us some cracking stories, including West Ham’s remarkable comeback win at Spurs; the dream debut of Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah, scoring 15 seconds after coming on, and then grabbing an extra-time winner over Norwich; Bristol City’s inspirational giant-killing exploits against Crystal Palace and Manchester United; and Wolves’ clean sheet against Manchester City, which looks more impressive every week.
As we close in on the business end of the tournament, managers will field ever-stronger teams, but there may well be a chance to see one or two stars of tomorrow, as sides seek the right blend of youth and experience. It should be another round of riveting, pulsating football under the floodlights.
To celebrate what’s already been a sensational tournament, check out these impressive stats (and then impress your mates by pretending you did the research yourself)…
Get the stats
2 Hat tricks by Leeds United players in this season’s tournament. That’s the same number as the other 91 clubs combined
4:15 The time (in the morning) that the third-round draw took place, as it was beamed live from China
105 minutes That’s how late the quarter-final draw took place on Twitter, after a ‘minor technical glitch’. Modern technology, eh?
27,852 Angry responses on Twitter following the ‘minor technical glitch’
9 The number of red cards dished out in this season’s tournament. Naughty boys, the lot of ‘em
58,444 The largest attendance in the competition so far. The game? Arsenal’s extra-time victory over Norwich City in the fourth round
1,457 The competition’s lowest attendance, for Rochdale’s 1-0 win at Mansfield
£100,000 The amount paid to the winning team in this year’s competition. Or, to look at it another way, a couple of days’ wages for Paul Pogba
4 That’s how many goals the competition’s joint top scorers (Islam Slimani, Samuel Sáiz and Josh Murphy) have scored this season
2 The number of times Charlton Athletic were pulled out of the bag during the tournament’s first-round draw
0 The number of goals free-scoring Manchester City netted against Wolves in the fourth round. Pep Guardiola’s side progressed after winning on penalties
Live Carabao Cup semi-final first legs on Sky Sports
Manchester City v Bristol City, Tuesday 9 January, 7.30pm, Sky Sports Football/HD (CH 513/503) + Sky Sports Main Event/HD (CH 511/501)
Chelsea v Arsenal, Wednesday 10 January, 7.30pm, Sky Sports Football/HD (CH 513/503) + Sky Sports Main Event/HD (CH 511/501)
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