READY FOR THE CUP?
While the clash between West Ham and Arsenal at the London Stadium this evening may not be the flashiest of the Rumbelows Cup games, it is likely to be the most poignant, as fans of a team get to watch a former club legend take on the team with bleary eyes , which he once represented, with such an award for the first time since his departure. Of course, it all depends on whether David Moyes chooses Konstantinos Mavropanos as a defender, but the omens are good as the fourth round of England’s fifth-biggest competition after the Premier League, the FA Cup and both transfer windows looks to be the ideal opportunity to give it that big Greek fringe player a chance.
With Mikel Arteta having far bigger fish to fry, he seems less likely to opt for Declan Rice, who will almost certainly start on the away team’s bench. On SHOUTsport this morning, West Ham fans were invited to call in and declare whether or not they would boo the first captain to lift silver medals for the club on his return, in a sort of phone call that gave the presenters the Passing time I have three hours to fill, I’ve already exhausted the topic of Saudi Arabia almost certainly winning the 2034 World Cup and there’s not much else going on. “I would say that,” Arteta said when asked if he thinks Rice will get a good reception. “I hope so. Especially when every time you hear him talk about West Ham and what they’ve done for him and everyone at the club, he can’t talk any higher than that, so we hope they treat him the same way. Whether he’s greeted with warm applause, pantomimic hostility, icy indifference, or a combination of all three, one suspects that Rice, a grown man who’s seen a lot, doesn’t care.
Meanwhile in the north, where Old Trafford’s roof will most likely reveal its leakiness if Storm Ciarán attacks, Newcastle have a chance to avenge their defeat in last year’s Milk Cup final when they face Manchester United. They won’t really. Perhaps overwhelmed by the prospect of winning their first proper silverware in 68 years, Eddie Howe United’s side could hardly put a dent in their plans at Wembley and while they are welcome and far from out of the question, a win tonight will be that in no way make up for the bitter defeat. “That’s not our feeling as I sit here,” Howe blabbed as talk at his press conference turned to the topic of revenge. “Our emotion is just to try to prepare and win the game. One win and we’re in the quarter-finals. We loved our run in it last year. This is a once-in-a-lifetime game and I am sure both teams will be motivated to try and win.”
In the other Capital One Cup games, Everton host Burnley in the Sean Dyche derby, a game his current club will probably be slightly more motivated to win than his former club, while Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino will almost certainly have both eyes will be looking at a potential horror series of season-defining Premier League games against Tottenham, Manchester City, Newcastle, Brighton and Manchester United when he sends a selection of under-16 players, some canteen staff and a few fans picked at random from the stands against Blackburn. At the Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth will look to extend their winning streak to two games against Liverpool, while Tractor Boys of Championship high-flyers Ipswich can be forgiven for their game against whichever team Fulham tackled, themselves if they lose to concentrate In the promotion race it might not be as easy as you think for this extremely impressive team.
LIVE ON THE BIG WEBSITE
Join Scott Murray for the Milk Cup at 8:15pm (all GMT) for Manchester United 1-3 Newcastle, while Michael Butler will guide you through the rest of the evening’s games as well as the quarter-final raffle. from 7.30 p.m.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“You need more agreement to reach that opinion. If you look at the games against Liverpool, Dortmund or Luton, (Nicolas Jackson) is a different player under different circumstances. It’s dangerous to make this analysis on a single game.” – Mauricio Pochettino takes aim at Alan Shearer for claiming his goal-shy Chelsea striker isn’t a “natural goalscorer” by suggesting he watches three games (including a friendly match) in which Jackson scores a single goal against one of the worst teams in the Premier League.
I’m sure I won’t be the only reader cleaning silverware, chugging Henderson’s sauce, and listening to Judas Priest point out that Dejphon Chansiri’s proposal to sporadically pay out money without returning anything of apparent value is already falling apart -Sheffield football business model at the moment, but I think Noble Francis’ keyboard, head and/or hands may have spontaneously exploded at some point yesterday, so I’ll do it just in case” – Jon Millard.
The 2026 World Cup: 48 teams. The 2030 World Cup: six countries, three continents. The 2034 World Cup: Saudi Arabia. Will 2038 happen on the moon? Please restart your STOP FOOTBALL campaign” – Krishna Moorthy.
Will St James’ Park host the World Cup in 2034?” – Tim Diggles.
Send your letters to [email protected]. Today’s winner of our Unpaid Letter of the Day is…Krishna Moorthy.