Mitch Cook’s column: The League Cup is back

editorial image

This week we saw the return of the competition that Arsene Wenger rates as the fifth most important in the season’s schedule.

Despite that, we still saw some great headlines, goals, scorelines and games in the Captital One Cup.

I was lucky enough to watch the games between Reading and Arsenal and Manchester United and Chelsea, and they were truly brilliant.

If you sat and watched the Reading v Arsenal game you just couldn’t believe what you were seeing.

All of Arsenal’s faults were there with the defensive frailties. When the fourth goal went in I nearly joined the Arsenal fans in turning off.

Theo Walcott went through and scored a brilliant goal and it all unfolded from there.

The competition has brought out everything that people want to see in cups.

We have Bradford City from League Two, Middlesbrough and Leeds United still involved, all of whom are still in with a shout.

That round of games have probably brought it on a par with the FA Cup this season because the excitement just leaves you wanting more.

The great thing about the League Cup as we know it is the fact that the ties have to be finished on the night. Players and managers know that they are under pressure.

Rather than making defensive substitutions, they often elect to make attacking ones because the game needs winning.

Like Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea did, it is also the perfect breeding ground for young stars.

When Wenger brought Thomas Eisfeld on for Arsenal it just showed that he has another potetial star of the future.

Having spoken about the youngsters, there was veteran Ryan Giggs putting a great shift in for United and scoring two of the goals.

It just highlights everything that is good about football, rather than the problems that the game regularly faces.

When I played for Scarborough we had a couple of great runs in the League Cup under Neil Warnock.

We played Portsmouth and drew 2-2 away when I was fortunate enough to score, then we beat them 3-1 at home.

Portsmouth manager at the time, the late, great Alan Ball had slated us in the press before the replay, so when I scored in the second leg at the Athletic Ground I celebrated right in front of him.

After that we played Southampton and reading the programme before the game it was great to see my name alongside Matthew Le Tissier’s as the top scorer in the competition.

As well as bringing Le Tissier, Southampton also brough Jimmy Case in their squad.

Arsenal also brought the superstars a few years later in the same competition, which was another great night for our town.

One of my highlights was when I played for Halifax and we drew Manchester United.

We were given chance to play home and away against the team that I have always followed.

An injury ahead of the first game and a falling out with the manager before the second meant that I missed both matches.

The competition has come back into the forefront this week and I hope that it continues.