Burnley 2 Leeds United 2 AET (Leeds win 3-5 on penalties)
Last season the League Cup provided us with some memorable nights at places like Fleetwood and Luton and of course the thriller against Norwich when young Ronnie Vieira stepped up to win the game from the spot. And who can forget our fabulous night out at Anfield in front of that massive new stand they have there when we got so close to glory and a place in the semi-finals.
Well, we are at it again this season and this time we have a squad capable of ensuring that the competition doesn’t cripple our league ambitions. Instead it is an opportunity to ensure that all the players in the squad get a chance to sample some glory; arguably, these nights in the cup are more exciting than the weekly grind and pressure of the league campaign for fans and players alike.
This season we had already witnessed tense first halves against plucky Port Vale and then Newport County and then got to celebrate hat-tricks in both games from first Samu Sáiz and then against Newport from Kemar Roofe.
And so we arrived at Burnley, complete with Chris Wood and Charlie Taylor and we witnessed another slow burner that gave no clue of the fireworks to come in the final ten minutes and then the extra time and penalties that followed; it was another wonderful, exciting night that we fans will long remember for years to come and who knows, it may be the passport to another big night out with one of the top Premier League sides. It was a fabulous night.
It was a much changed Leeds side from what we saw at Millwall in both personnel and quality and application. It is wrong to call it a 2nd XI and I’m going to try not to use that term any longer as when you look at the names in the starting XI last night, several are unlucky not be getting regular runs on a Saturday. Andy Lonergan is a capable and experienced keeper, Gaetano Berardi is a fearsome competitor who sheds blood, (literally) for the team, Ronaldo Vieira is always capable of holding his own and we saw the true quality of Mateusz Klich last night too. Roofe, Dallas and Luke Ayling have of course been regular members of the team most weeks while Conor Shaughnessy reminds me more of Paul Madeley every time I see him play and I’m convinced this lad will be a top player very soon. So, nine changes but we still had a side that I am sure would have beaten most sides in the Championship. That they came out on top of an experienced Premier League side with most of their better known players on the pitch is yet more confirmation of the strength in depth we now have. The big issue for Thomas Christiansen is “Which of the likes of Berardi, Vieira, Klich, Roofe, Dallas and maybe even Hadi Sacko should be starting against Ipswich on Saturday?” It is TC’s call over the coming months that will determine just how successful we will be.
Burnley Leeds Utd
Possession 51% 49%
Shots 26 13
On Target 6 4
Corners 6 3
Fouls 22 21