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Pereira, Grealish, and Kenedy stand out in the Capital One Cup Third Round
The Capital One Cup is hardly seen as the crème de la crème of club tournament football, but whilst managers often use the tournament to give young and fringe players a chance to shine, this week’s third round came as a welcome diversion from the usual script. Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur both started their big guns in their clash at White Hart Lane and high profile names such as Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial got on the scoreboard against Ipswich Town as Manchester United looked to avoid a repeat of their 4-0 humiliation at the hands of MK Dons last year. Yet, rather ironically, three young players still managed to steal the headlines at Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge and Villa Park. Richard Lewis reviews Andreas Pereira, Jack Grealish and Kenedy’s successful midweek outings.
During Manchester United’s preseason tour, I compared Manchester United’s Andreas Pereira to Justice League superhero Super Boy. The week before, Football Every Day founder Alex Morgan had witnessed Louis van Gaal admit that Pereira’s goal against the San Jose Earthquakes had been the “one highlight” of United’s performance that day. Certainly, Pereira’s magnificent free-kick goal against Ipswich Town today is worthy of that title.
The Brazilian midfielder was given his first senior competitive start in red and after captain Wayne Rooney had opened the scoring, young Pereira had the confidence to curl a wonderful effort over the wall and into the top right corner from twenty yards. Ipswich’s goalkeeper could only watch as the ball sailed into the back of the net. If this effort is anything to go by, he might give United’s in-house dead-ball specialist Memphis Depay a run for his money in situations closer to goal.
The nineteen year old will be looking to see some more first team action over the course of the season and has the luck of bearing the number forty-four on his back, formerly worn by United starlet Adnan Januzaj, who is currently on loan at Borussia Dortmund.
United’s other teenage sensation, £36 million man Anthony Martial, rounded off their 3-0 win, scoring a stoppage time goal from off the bench to secure United’s meeting fourth round meeting with Middlesbrough.
The Frenchman was still at Monaco when I compared Pereira to Super-boy, but his out-of-this world start has likened the forward to Miss Martian. If his stellar run of form continues, his astronomical transfer fee may rise even higher, but it would all be worth it if he emerges as the strongest of United’s pack of young stars.
Chelsea’s nineteen-year-old Brazilian youngster Kenedy (I know, another on!) caught the eye with his silky skills in The Blues’ win over League One high-flyers Walsall. The summer signing from Fluminense marked his competitive debut at the club with a goal.
Unlike thirty-three of Kenedy’s young colleagues, the majority of which are at Chelsea’s affiliates Vitesse Arnhem, Jose Mourinho decided against sending Kenedy on loan for the season. Kenedy will hope to make a statement this season to break into Chelsea’s gameday squad and has used Chelsea’s visit to The Saddlers to force Mourinho to consider the possibility.
Starting alongside English defensive midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Kenedy saw both Loic Remy and fellow Brazilian Ramires, before grabbed a goal of his own. Kenedy’s replacement Pedro put the icing on the cake with a fourth finish.
The West Londoners have taken advantage of three matches in three different competitions in the same week, beating Maccabi Tel-Aviv in the Champions League, Arsenal in the Premier League and now Walsall to put their shaky start to the season behind them. The Blues go will visit Stoke in the next round of the Capital One Cup, where they will have the tall order of keeping out Peter Crouch to maintain hopes of holding onto their trophy.
However, controversy is never too far away at Stamford Bride as the past few days have also brought the news that Diego Costa will be banned for three games for his antics against Arsenal and Chelsea’s first team doctor Eva Carneiro has also stepped down after a very public falling out with Mourinho.
When young Jack Grealish isn’t stirring controversy with his off the pitch lifestyle, he has actually proved to be one of Aston Villa’s best performers this season. Both England and Republic of Ireland are fighting to be able to harbor his future international career, and his substitute appearance Villa’s Midlands derby yesterday illustrated why.
Tim Sherwood brought on Grealish with great effect against Birmingham City and the twenty-year-old changed the game with his pace. Strangely, Brummies’ boss Gary Rowett admitted after the game him Villa’s starting eleven in advance but perhaps overlooked Grealish’s potential impact.
In the end, it was Rudy Gestede’s header that proved to hand Villa the first Second City derby since January 2011, when Grealish still was in secondary school.
Photo credit: By Alfonsohuergo, via Wikimedia Commons