Wan-Bissaka among five Premier League players who grabbed their Carabao Cup chance

Matt Stead
Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Casemiro

Aaron Wan-Bissaka is back on the Manchester United radar and a Chelsea loanee did his case to start more games the world of good, even in eventual defeat.

 

Samuel Edozie
Missing an almost entirely open net from a searing stoppage-time counter-attack was not ideal, but almost everything else from Samuel Edozie’s 27-minute cameo against Lincoln strengthened his case for future starts.

“He is always pushing,” said the Saints manager (still not having this Nathan Jones talk) after the 2-1 win. “He was fantastic when he came on, he really was.”

Given less than half an hour, Edozie completed the most dribbles of any player for either side and put in a couple of tackles for good measure. The teenage graduate of Manchester City’s academy shredded Regan Poole and Matty Virtue at one stage with a scintillating left-wing run and more playing opportunities should present themselves soon.

 

Luke Thomas
The revelation that Ayoze Perez is still a Leicester player was stunning. The 29-year-old – also an impossible fact – definitely joined Levante on a free transfer in the summer after his Foxes contract expired but no, there he was scoring a pretty impressive goal in a cruise against MK Dons.

But his prospects of breaking into a wonderful attack which remains worryingly dependent upon how much Red Bull Jamie Vardy has consumed seem slim. Luke Thomas was also excellent against the League One strugglers and might use his performance as a platform for a first-team push.

Thomas has started just three games in the Premier League this season, with James Justin the undoubted first left-back choice. One of that trio of matches was the 5-2 defeat to Brighton in early September, after which he only played two more minutes in the next three months. That glorious ball to Harvey Barnes in the build-up to Youri Tielemans’ opener was enough on its own to warrant a reappraisal.

 

Levi Colwill
‘Adam Webster’s spot at the back may be under threat,’ warned Sussex Live in their player ratings from Brighton’s disappointing penalty shoot-out exit to Charlton. It seems bizarre to suggest a 19-year-old loanee with barely any Premier League experience might dislodge a guaranteed starter but then Levi Colwill is no ordinary centre-half.

Brighton overcame no little competition to bring Colwill to the coast. Graham Potter then promptly completed the return journey to Chelsea and took most of his staff with him, but Roberto De Zerbi is starting to fully appreciate that parting gift. Colwill started the admittedly disheartening defeat to Aston Villa before the World Cup break and retained his place against Charlton, where he was tasked with nullifying Miles Leaburn. That the 6ft 5ins striker was substituted after about an hour neatly sums up how well that went.

It’s just a shame the after-effects of Emiliano Martinez’s penalty sh*thousing somehow extended to Brighton, who missed four of their seven spot-kicks because xG probably.

 

Taiwo Awoniyi
Scott Wharton was made to look very silly indeed by Taiwo Awoniyi, who pawed the Blackburn centre-half away to latch onto Jesse Lingard’s excellent ball and finish confidently. Nottingham Forest had not scored more than two goals in a game since their 3-0 victory at Grimsby in the second round of the Carabao Cup back in August; four of their 27 shots against Blackburn found the net at Ewood Park.

Lingard and Brennan Johnson needed those performances but Awoniyi timed his display particularly well. The striker played 11 minutes as a substitute in the penultimate game before the mid-season pause against Brentford, then watched the win over Crystal Palace from the bench as Steve Cooper’s continued formational experimentation saw the Nigerian pay with his place.

Johnson, Emmanuel Dennis and Morgan Gibbs-White have been used in the centre-forward positions recently and while each have their strengths, both individually and as part of the collective, none can offer what Awoniyi does. This was A Timely Reminder.

 

Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Not since making a rudimentary six-yard pass to an unmarked Bruno Fernandes, whose shot was deflected in off the knee of Nathaniel Phillips in May 2021, had Aaron Wan-Bissaka managed to cobble together an assist. The right-back’s volleyed first-time centre for Christian Eriksen to open the scoring against Burnley was worth the 587-day wait.

It was wonderful athleticism from Wan-Bissaka to make the run – coincidentally spotted by Bruno Fernandes, who found him with a sublime clipped ball over the top – and stunning technique to control the subsequent delivery.

“Aaron Wan-Bissaka, it is clear he has a future,” Erik ten Hag said after the 2-0 Manchester United victory. “He’s had some good years with United, but from the start of this season he had a lot of illnesses and injuries, and so was running behind. His fitness levels are getting better, his performance levels are getting better.”

Perhaps that January move won’t be necessary. But Diogo Dalot will still take some considerable shifting.