Noni Madueke and Beto both scored on Wednesday night to put some pressure on their managers while an ex-Man Utd man made an impression too.
Some Premier League players cocked up their Carabao chance but this lot made the most of the opportunity.
Noni Madueke (Chelsea)
On the day that Chelsea seemingly agreed a fee for Cole Palmer, Madueke took it upon himself to remind Mauricio Pochettino and Todd Boehly that they already have an England Under-21 winger who is really rather good. He was full of running and trickery against AFC Wimbledon and fully deserved to win and then convert the penalty that settled Chelsea nerves. He’s unlucky to be playing in the same position as the rejuvenated Raheem Sterling but should be worth more than the 15 minutes he has played so far in the Premier League.
Everton are putting a lot of eggs in the Beto basket and the early signs are that the Portuguese striker is carrying some high-quality wicker. You would expect him to terrorise the Doncaster defence and that’s exactly what he did as Everton scraped through.
“As great as Beto was, I will wait until he plays against better defenders in the Premier League,” said Stephen Warnock on the BBC. “Sure, he caused problems, but you would expect that against a League Two team.
“However, you can see how he could be dangerous. He was the bright spark and the one who changed the game. He will be the player Everton fans are talking about.”
Josh Brownhill (Burnley)
Played only one minute of Premier League football this season after being pretty much ever-present in the promotion season as Vincent Kompany has opted for Sander Berge as a partner for Josh Cullen in the centre of midfield. But he certainly made a case for a promotion from the bench v Forest as he demanded the ball and was incredibly busy as the Clarets dominated possession.
He then moved to right-back after an early injury to Vitinho and was equally as effective there, claiming the assist for the winner that inevitably came as they piled on the pressure.
Anthony Elanga (Nottingham Forest)
Caught the eye three times from the bench in the Premier League and was absolutely the pick of Forest players on a night they lost 1-0 to Burnley. Looked the most likely to create something, especially in the closing stages after Morgan Gibbs-White came off the bench. Surely worth more than a few minutes at Chelsea on Saturday afternoon?
Ellery Balcombe (Brentford)
Thomas Frank said it had “not been a straightforward journey” for Balcombe, the third-choice Brentford goalkeeper who had been sent on loan to seven different clubs over the past five years.
“He was superb,” the Bees’ manager added. “I think he played a good game; I’m so pleased for him. After the game I saw his mum was in the stand and the fans were singing his name. I almost got emotional because he has been here since he was eight.”
The England youth international followed up a solid Brentford debut with two penalty shoot-out saves to guarantee safe passage to the third round – and surely more competitive minutes as a result.
Hamed Junior Traore (Bournemouth)
In search of his first win as Bournemouth manager, Andoni Iraola made seven changes to the side which lost to Tottenham. But only after a triple substitution at half-time – Lewis Cook, Milos Kerkez and Dominic Solanke replacing Joe Rothwell, Lloyd Kelly and Kieffer Moore – did it achieve the desired effect.
Iraola said those alterations were made with the intention of helping his side “attack the spaces, to be more direct, not receive the ball only facing our goal,” as well as finding Traore and Philip Billing in more advantageous positions.
Bournemouth had six shots in the first half and 15 in the second as they came from behind to win, with Traore particularly relishing the opportunity to attack. He scored from one of his five efforts and hit the woodwork with another. After an injury-stricken spell on the coast so far, a first goal for the Cherries will boost the confidence. Traore could catch fire this season.
Jean-Philippe Mateta (Crystal Palace)
Crystal Palace rank fourth for most shots in the Premier League so far this season and The Great Entertainers eventually turned on the style to beat Plymouth 4-2. Odsonne Edouard started the comeback but it was Mateta who emphatically finished the job with a hat-trick.
“When he gets in those positions, we know he’s got that composure and ability to strike the ball very well,” Roy Hodgson said of a forward with 19 Premier League minutes to his name so far this season. “He has waited a long time to get a first-team opportunity from the start. Today he had it, and I’m sure he will be knocking on my door tomorrow telling me: ‘I told you how good I was!'”
One tap-in from the six-yard box. Two ruthless finishes when played through. One obliterated corner flag. And one manager gratefully receiving the message.
Tom Cairney (Fulham)
No player was subbed on more often in the Premier League than Cairney (27 times) last season. The Fulham captain is already playing catch up to the 15 men introduced at some point in three games this campaign, after starting the opener at Everton, staying on the bench against Brentford and making a cameo against Arsenal.
The midfielder could not have done much more to impress the suspended Marco Silva against Tottenham. Cairney assisted Micky van de Ven’s own goal with some delightful, Davinson Sanchez-bamboozling footwork, while neatly knitting together most of Fulham’s moves. The Cottagers still don’t possess anyone who does what Cairney can quite so well.
— Anthony Oxborough (@anthonyoxboroug) August 29, 2023
Pablo Sarabia (Wolves)
Matt Doherty there, marauding forward from defence to score two goals in a lovely Wolves home win like the five years simply haven’t happened at all.
Nathan Fraser deserves his flowers for a delightful half-hour cameo from the bench, the teenaged debutant scoring one and setting up another.
But Gary O’Neil may be most pleased with the efforts of Sarabia, whose hat-trick of assists was the true difference against Blackpool. The Spanish forward started the unfortunate opening defeat to Manchester United but was substituted after the hour and has only appeared from the bench in the next two Wolves games. Another start is surely due against Crystal Palace.
He scored! And wasn’t immediately booked! Huzzah!