Let’s face it, unlikely as it is that a League One side will win the Capital One Cup, it’s always great news when third tier sides beat the so-called big boys in any competition. This week saw three teams from League One defeat Premier League sides:
MK Dons battered not only a weak but a very poor Manchester United side 4-0 in front of a record crowd. Two goals each from former Walsall and Brentford striker Will Grigg and Benik Afobe (who came on as a sub for Grigg and is now joint top scorer in the competition!) saw the Dons safely through to the next round.
West Ham scored both goals as Sheffield United drew 1-1 at Upton Park but it was Ecuadorian World Cup star Enner Valencia who missed the crucial spot kick as the Blades won on penalties.
Leyton Orient won at Aston Villa for the first time ever thanks to Roman Vincelot’s late strike. Orient’s previous best result at Villa Park was a 2-2 draw in 1973 and their only other meeting in a cup competition in Birmingham had been a goalless draw in the fourth round of the FA Cup in 1929: Villa won the replay 8-0.
The draw for the third round couldn’t have been any better: there’ll be two guaranteed places in the fourth round. Sheffield United will travel to Leyton Orient whilst MK Dons will entertain Bradford City – who beat Leeds by the odd goal in three at Elland Road after going behind in the 82nd minute! Both games will take place during the week beginning Monday 22nd September.
As exciting as it has been, the main priority for all League One sides is the league. Although Fleetwood have a one point lead over Peterborough, the most interesting stats so far is that the top half of the table is only separated by three points and that only nine teams have lost more than one game. Even though Walsall are currently 20th and haven’t won yet they’re in the ‘one loss’ group, which indicates to me that League One may be far tighter than it was after four games last season. On the 24th August 2013, the top half were separated by eight points, half the division had lost more than once and eight teams were unbeaten.
Let’s take a look at some of the potential talking points for Saturday tea-time. The first two games are clashes where the hosts are at the wrong end of the table and the visitors have begun well and the third is the only match between clubs in the bottom six this weekend.
Colchester United v Peterborough United
Three home wins in their last ten games is nothing for Colchester to be proud of but combining that with defeats in five of their last ten league matches at any venue and you begin to see why The Us are struggling. They began the season by taking the lead against Oldham and Bristol City but only ended up taking one point from six from those games and so really need to aim for a win against Posh; the good news is that Colchester have only lost one of their last six league games against Peterborough in Essex. On the other hand, Peterborough’s away form has been odd: they’ve not won three in a row away from London Road in almost a year and have gone sixteen away games in League One without a draw. A point would suit Posh rather than Colchester.
Yeovil Town v Barnsley
The Glovers’ indifferent home form continued last Saturday with a 1-1 draw against Scunthorpe: despite taking the lead via Kieffer Moore, former Town striker Paddy Madden equalised with eight minutes to go, which means Yeovil still haven’t won a league game in Somerset since early March. At this point the Tykes seem to have adjusted better than Yeovil to life in the Championship but I’d expect that to change once both sides have taken on some of the better opposition in the competition. Neither of them have beaten teams currently in the top half of the table and Barnsley have had to come from behind in both of their away games so far.
Scunthorpe United v Walsall
As I mentioned last week, The Iron have had a much tougher start to the campaign than many other teams (three of their four reverses have been to the pacesetters) but the point earned at Yeovil last weekend is grounds for optimism, even though it’s over two decades since they last beat Walsall in the league at Glanford Park. The Saddlers have drawn both of their away games this season but have only recorded two away wins since Christmas so a win at Scunthorpe would be both welcome and an indication of how the rest of the season might go for both sides.
It’s the first international break of the season next week and at time of posting the only games left next weekend were at Coventry (Friday evening), Bradford, Bristol City, Crawley, Oldham, Peterborough and Walsall.