All good things must come to an end. After an impressive run in the EFL “Carabao” Cup, Manchester City were eliminated by West Ham United in this season’s Round of 16. This was the first time City had lost in the competition in over five years.
The Carabao Cup had become synonymous with Manchester City in recent seasons. During Pep Guardiola’s managerial tenure, City won the competition in four of his five seasons in charge. The Sky Blues defeated Arsenal in 2017/18, Chelsea in 2018/19, Aston Villa in 2019/20, and Tottenham Hotspur in 2020/21. The defeat to West Ham means that City have now won the competition in four of six attempts under Guardiola.
Former manager Manuel Pellegrini also had success in this competition, where he won the competition twice. The Sky Blues defeated Sunderland in 2013/14 and they bested Liverpool on penalties in 2015/16.
Manchester City hold a joint record with Liverpool in the EFL Cup, where both clubs have won the competition on eight occasions. They also hold a joint record for most consecutive tournament wins. The Sky Blues won the competition on four occasions from 2018-2021 while the Reds won four in a row from 1981-1984.
Had the Mancunians won this season’s competition, they would have become the first team to win the competition in five consecutive seasons. They also would have had the most titles in this competition.
But as City’s historic run ends, credit must be given to West Ham. Over the past month, the Irons have defeated some stiff competition. During the Carabao Cup’s Third Round, West Ham were paired with Manchester United. Several pundits and fans had tipped the Red Devils to defeat the Irons, but it was the London-based club that turned heads. West Ham defeated United 1-0.
More recently, West Ham beat Everton and Tottenham in the English Premier League, results which now see the Irons in fourth place in the current EPL table.
West Ham also defeated Genk in the UEFA Europe League. The Irons have won three out of their three group stage matches. They have scored seven goals and conceded none. Should they beat Genk on Matchday 4 next week, then the Irons will win their group with two matches to spare.
Overall, City’s loss in the competition brings their historic run to an end, but West Ham’s run has demonstrated that English clubs outside of the traditional six are starting to become more competitive. There is still a lot of football to be played, but these clubs are also challenging for European places in this season’s EPL. Perhaps these opponents should no longer be overlooked.
Swansea City were the last team outside of the “big six” to win the EFL Cup. Could West Ham begin a new trend in this season’s competition?