The Carabao Cup draw fiasco was either bad luck or a PR stunt, but the competition hasn’t lacked for drama, with big semi finals looming.
Fans waited with bated breath on Thursday afternoon for the Carabao Cup quarter-final draw to be streamed live on Twitter and their breath was bated for almost two hours due to ‘technical problems’.
‘Technical problems’ has become a ubiquitous phrase, used by many as a meaningless cover for a multitude of unspoken errors.
It is a bland bluff to avoid telling the truth. Tea and coffee not available from your train’s trolley service? “Just tell ’em it’s technical problems, Brian.”
What were the technical problems? Why not just use other means to broadcast a live draw? Was the Football League contracted to broadcast via Twitter and so its hands were tied?
Were the delays a PR stunt? Probably not, but everyone’s certainly talking about Carabao all of a sudden.
What all supporters need to be reassured about is the governance of the draw. Many fans on Twitter joked that the draw kept having to be redone until Manchester United got Bristol City.
It is highly awkward that the draw finally broadcast was ‘recorded earlier’, not streamed live after all and that yes United did land Bristol City, arguably the weakest team left in the competition.
Whatever the veracity of the draw, it promises the double drama of big sides being tested, plus the possibility of very strong semi-finalists. And there’s no doubt that the Carabao Cup has been exciting this week.
Bristol City smashed Premier League strugglers Crystal Palace. Arsenal needed extra time and two goals from young striker Eddie Nketiah, to see off Norwich City. Manchester City needed penalties to overcome Wolves and West Ham pulled off the result of the round, to stun Spurs 3-2 at Wembley from 2-0 down.
Man Utd now travel to Bristol and Man City visit Leicester, in ties made rather tricky for the big guns for not being home contests. Chelsea host Bournemouth and Arsenal welcome West Ham to the Emirates, in what would otherwise have been a home derby against Spurs.
So in the excitable world of the Carabao Cup, the last four could be Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal, although it might be worth bating your breath again. That final quartet could yet be Bristol City, Leicester City, Bournemouth and West Ham.