The third round of the Carabao Cup is almost upon us and though Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Spurs are all in action – do not expect to see the usual star-studded line ups often witnessed in the Premier League.
The likes of Mohamed Salah, Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Kane are unlikely to feature for their respective sides as all of the Premier League’s ‘big six’ are expected to deploy a more youthful, inexperienced starting eleven.
All of the other sides involved will be keen to end Man City’s recent dominance over the competition, with Pep Guardiola’s side winning the last four editions of the tournament.
Liverpool and Man Utd are both welcomed into the third round with a tie that will see them take on Premier League opposition in Norwich and West Ham respectively, while Arsenal welcome League out outfit AFC Wimbledon to the Emirates after beating West Bromwich Albion 6-0 in round two.
Nuno Espirito Santo makes another return to the Molineux to face Wolves for the second time as Spurs boss, as Chelsea gear up to face Aston Villa again – just over a week after they beat them in the league.
Man City have been handed a more favourable draw as they face League One side Wycome Wanderers at home.
Mirror Sport has identified seven young stars that could make a name for themselves in the latest round of fixtures this week.
Anthony Elanga – Man Utd
The 19-year-old Swedish U21 international was expected to spend the 2021/22 season out on loan elsewhere, but such is the regard he is held in by boss Solskjaer – Elanga was kept at Old Trafford.
Impressing under the watchful eye of his manager during pre-season – his glorious volley at home to Brentford in the final friendly of the summer a highlight, Elanga will almost certainly feature against West Ham on Wednesday.
Some sections of the United faithful were fearful the arrival of Ronaldo would hinder Elanga’s development, but the teenager insists he will use it as an opportunity to learn from the best.
“I will check everything with Ronaldo – how he does what he does, what he does before and after training. I will ask questions that anyone would ask,” Elanga explained to Swedish outlet Fotbollskanalen.
The departure of fellow wide-man Daniel James would have done Elanga’s prospects of first-team football this season no harm, expect to see Elanga be a thorn in the side of the Hammers this week.
Charlie Patino – Arsenal
Heralded as the best player to come out of Arsenal’s famed Hale End Academy – the same set-up that has produced Jack Wilshere, Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe – expectations are high for Charlie Patino.
Arsenal fended off interest from both Man Utd and Liverpool for the teenager’s signature when he was just 11 years old, the Gunners paying his former side Luton Town £10,000 in compensation.
It was only a matter of weeks ago the Arsenal faithful were salivating over a video of Patino in action against Man Utd U23’s, in which he can be seen gliding past Phil Jones before producing a deft chip over the onrushing Dean Henderson – a fully established Premier League regular and England international.
The England U17 star is yet to make a first team appearance, but is expected to enjoy his debut against Wimbledon on Wednesday where those in attendance will be keeping a keen eye on Arsenal’s next great hope.
Folarin Balogun – Arsenal
Given Balogun has already made his Premier League debut for the Gunners, he has been on the radar of fans for some time.
The New York born striker has already found the net for Arsenal at senior level twice during last season’s Europa League campaign, but many feared he would play his football elsewhere by the time the 2021/22 season rolled around.
However, the 20-year-old was convinced to commit his long-term future to the Gunners and could feature against Wimbledon to offer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang a rest.
Balogun was thrown in the deep end at the beginning of the league campaign as he lead the line against Brentford on the opening day after both Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette fell ill.
Kaide Gordon – Liverpool
Gordon is aiming to follow in the foot-steps of fellow Reds teenager Harvey Elliot and establish himself as a regular in the Liverpool first-team sooner rather than later.
The attacking midfielder made his debut in senior football at former side Derby County during the last festive period at the tender age of 16 years old.
Just over a month later, Liverpool had forked out £1m, which could later rise to £3m with add-ons, to bring the talented teen to Anfield.
His omission from this weekend’s U23’s squad is as clear indicator as any that Klopp is planning to give Gordon his first taste of first-team football in a Liverpool shirt at Carrow Road.
Xavier Mbuyamba – Chelsea
Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
Heralded by some in his home country of the Netherlands as the next Vigil van Dijk, Mbuyamba was recently called up to first-team training at Chelsea’s Cobham base for the first time.
The 19-year-old already has an impressive CV, the Blues signing him last summer from La Liga giants Barcelona.
Standing at 6ft 4in tall, the Dutchman undeniably has the physical presence to impose himself on his opposition strikers.
Though he may not start against Dean Smith’s Aston Villa side given the threat they pose as a fellow Premier League outfit, do not be surprised to see Mbuyamba named in the squad.
Dane Scarlett – Tottenham Hotspur
Scarlett is arguably the most well-known of all the young talents in this list, as he is Tottenham’s youngest Premier League player ever.
The 17-year-old striker’s opportunities in the Spurs first team is obviously limited given he has the small task of dislodging Harry Kane, but he has impressed during Europa League and Carabao Cup cameos.
The London-born forward featured in all of the Spurs’ pre-season matches and even notched a goal against Leyton Orient in July.
Scarlett has been given the vote of confidence by former manage Jose Mourinho, who told the Times : “I know he’s still very young, just 17, and it’s probably too early for the next World Cup, but Tottenham have a striker in Dane Scarlett, who, if everything goes well, is going to be phenomenal.”
Scarlett is likely to feature against Wolves at some point to offer main man Kane a rest with the small matter of a north London derby up next for Spurs in the league.
Liam Delap – Man City
Delap is arguably the most well-known of City’s current academy stars and there are a number of reasons for that.
His father, Rory, enjoyed a stellar Premier League career at Stoke City, as well as the fact Liam himself has already made a league appearance for City.
The 18-year-old’s goal record at PL2 level is staggering, the striker bagging 24 goals in 20 appearances over the course of last season for City’s U23 side.
Linked with a loan move away from the Etihad all summer, Delap eventually opted to stay put and try to force his way into Guardiola’s plans for domestic cup action.
Delap appears to have shaken off a recent injury in time to be in contention for the welcome of Wycombe Wanderers.