The first half of this week’s EFL Cup third round ties took place tonight, with six Premier League sides in action.
The tie of the round came from the King Power, where league champions Leicester City took on Antonio Conte’s Chelsea.
The home side raced into a two-goal lead courtesy of a double from Shinji Okazaki, only for the visitors to pull one back before half time through Gary Cahill, before a César Azpilicueta belter five minutes into the second half levelled the score at 2-2.
The tie was to go to extra time with Leicester down to ten men, Marcin Wasilewski sent off before the end of the 90 minutes.
In extra time, Chelsea made the most of their numerical advantage, scoring twice in the first four minutes with Cesc Fabregas finding the net on both occasions to stake his claim for a regular starting spot under Conte.
It was to finish 4-2 and Chelsea booked their passage into tomorrow night’s fourth round draw.
At the iPro Stadium meanwhile, with Derby County struggling and Liverpool on form, this was only ever going to end one way.
Jurgen Klopp’s side dominated throughout, and probably should have gone in at half time with a greater than lead than the one they had, courtesy of defender Ragnar Klavan. Philippe Coutinho and Divock Origi added to the away side’s lead in the second half to give Liverpool a 3-0 win.
At the City Ground, an understrength Arsenal side had few problems dealing with Nottingham Forest, winning by a 4-0 scoreline in the end.
Midfielder Granit Xhaka scored his second screamer in as many games for the Gunners to send them in ahead at the break, before a double from Lucas Pérez in the second half ended the tie as a contest. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain put the icing on the cake in stoppage time.
The big shock of the night, however, came at Goodison Park, where Ronald Koeman’s Everton went down 2-0 to Championship side Norwich City despite fielding a number of first-team regulars.
Steven Naismith, having joined the Canaries from Everton last season, put the away side in front, before Josh Murphy settled the tie with 15 minutes remaining.
In tonight’s other ties, Leeds United continued their recent recovery by beating Blackburn Rovers 1-0 with a late goal from Chris Wood, while strikes from Matt Ritchie and Yoan Gouffran sent Rafa Benítez’s Newcastle into the fourth round with a 2-0 win at home to Wolves.
Reading recorded a 2-1 win away at Brighton as Stephen Quinn and John Swift struck before a late Tommer Hemed consolation halved the deficit.
The only other tie that went into extra time saw Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth beaten 3-2 by Preston North End. Simon Makienok had the away side in front after around ten minutes, before goals from Lewis Grabban and Dan Gosling either side of half time put the Premier League side in control.
However, Makienok scored his and Preston’s second with just five minutes of normal time remaining, before sealing his hat-trick in extra time to cap a fine performance and give the Championship side a 3-2 win.
The remaining ties take place tomorrow night, with the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur all looking to book their place in the next round.