The EFL Cup final was the major talking point of the weekend’s action, which is surprising considering a certain manager was sacked, naming no names. Therefore, who made it as a winner and loser this week?
1) MANCHESTER UNITED
Despite Southampton arguably having the better of the play at Wembley, a Zlatan Ibrahimovic inspired Manchester United overcame their opponents 3-2 in an exciting encounter on Sunday. Zlatan was the star-man for Manchester United as Mourinho’s men secured the EFL Cup; Jose in the process becoming the first United manager to win a trophy in their first season at the club, a good weekend all round.
2) HARRY KANE
Harry Kane continued his goal scoring antics as he scored his third hat-trick in nine games as he and his Tottenham side breezed past a hit-and-miss Stoke City 4-0. Kane’s second goal was a particular highlight as a corner from Christian Eriksen found the striker at the edge of the box as he struck a wonderful, left-footed half-volley into the bottom corner past a desperate Lee Grant. Kane, for his club at least, has been in sensational form and his recent goal scoring form will do wonders for his aim to become Golden Boot winner come May.
Everton welcomed a struggling Sunderland to Goodison Park and goals from Idrissa Gana Gueye and Romelu Lukaku sealed a 2-0 win; extending Everton’s unbeaten league run to nine games. However, Everton aren’t on this list because of their weekend’s result, but because of their continual support for young Sunderland fan Bradley Lowery. Bradley Lowery has captured the attention of supporters across the whole country but it is Everton’s contribution to his fight that has pleased fans the most. Everton as a club with no prior links to Bradley, have taken it upon themselves to help Bradley in any way possible, including making him a mascot for the day. This isn’t the first time Everton have helped Bradley Lowery as, in the reverse fixture, Bradley met players such as Romelu Lukaku at the Stadium of Light. Everton have once again shown the world what a powerful tool football can be in creating long-lasting memories and emotions.
1) CLAUDIO RANIERI
As I mentioned in a previous Winners and Losers Article, Claudio Ranieri faced huge pressure from the media and fans for Leicester’s stuttering form. This week, the news had been confirmed that, despite bringing the miracle of the Premier League title to The King Power Stadium, Ranieri was sacked by the Leicester City board. Rumours and reports of “player power” being the reason for this sacking are unconfirmed, however, what can be confirmed is that Ranieri must feel hard done by and it unfortunately shows that football has moved on and no longer can a manager, who helped the 5000/1 dream come true, be given time to save the team from relegation. A rather sad week for football.
Liverpool faced a managerless and out of form Leicester City on Monday night, eager to capitalise on their victory against Tottenham a fortnight before. However, The Reds were outplayed and outclassed by Leicester who showed glimpses of their title-winning team the previous campaign. Liverpool were defeated 3-1 as their poor form in 2017 continued and Jurgen Klopp himself now faces criticism from fans and media alike for his lack of results in recent times.
3) CARLISLE UNITED
Carlisle have had a great season so far in League 2 and look destined to be in the promotion picture come May. So when they welcomed high-flying Portsmouth, hopes were high at Brunton Park. However, their opponents had other ideas. After a close 70 minutes, Pompey turned on the style as they scored three goals in 20 minutes to grab the three points and take them back on their long journey back down south. Although this by no means signals the end of Carlisle’s promotion push, it certainly will hace a negative impact on their confidence going forward.