League Cup a chance for the Premier League’s trophy-less to stake a claim

Five of the current Premier League clubs have never won a major trophy but for one of them the chances of finally doing so have never been so good

England’s second cup competition has changed names more times than a convict on the run but one cannot avoid the feeling that it is on its last legs. The Carabao Cup, as it is called in its current guise, will probably be abolished soon, squeezed out of existence by a European Super League or sheer neglect. The alterations made to this season’s tournament – VAR, no extra time, Dennis Wise inspecting a Vietnamese post office before the first-round draw – have not prevented attendances from being low and entire reserve sides being fielded, even by the likes of Fleetwood Town, for pity’s sake.

Evidently the alterations have not gone far enough. To have any chance of gaining fresh appeal, the competition needs to embrace a radically different format and become to classic football – with which tampering must be minimised – what Twenty20 is to cricket or at least what Sevens is to rugby. So, stage matches with fewer players or bigger targets or with volleyed goals worth extra or, best of all, allow each manager to choose a 20-minute period in which both sides must have four and only four players in their own halves. Let the other seven commit to attacking the depleted opposing defence. Innovate, dammit.

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