Round two of the English League Cup welcomed 12 teams from the Premier League. Based on league positioning last season, the top eight teams in last season’s Premier League bypassed to the third round. Therefore, Chelsea joined the League Cup in the second round. Tottenham Hotspur, on the other hand, also joined. Despite finishing eighth last season, West Ham earned an exemption into the third round because it is competing in Europe.

That proved to be a costly occurrence for Tottenham as it matched up against fellow Premier League side Fulham. Tuesday’s clash was one of two games involving two Premier League foes in the second round. Both came down to the wire, but Spurs’ trip to Craven Cottage was not kind.

New signing Micky Van de Ven put the ball into his own net to put Tottenham behind after 19 minutes. However, Richarlison leveled the game early in the second half. Neither side could find a breakthrough for the remaining half-hour of the 90. Therefore, the game went straight into penalties. Spurs center-back Davinson Sánchez was the only player to miss a penalty, allowing Tottenham to advance via a shootout. Despite the strong start to Premier League play, Spurs’ wait for a trophy will at least go on a little bit longer, as it is out of the League Cup.

Tottenham was not alone in struggling in the League Cup second round, though. Chelsea, Burnley, Everton and Crystal Palace all faced stiff tests.

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League Cup round two yields drama

That Nottingham Forest-Burnley game was the other top-flight matchup in the second round. This game also went about to the wire, as Burnley left it late on the road. A scoreless affair led to Zeiki Amdouni scoring the only goal of the game in the 90th minute. Nottingham Forest, a semifinalist last season, exits the competition after just one game.

Everton and Chelsea had two similar games, as both barely managed 2-1 wins. Everton played away to Doncaster Rovers. Entering this game, Doncaster has one point through five games in League Two. As a result, it sits bottom of the English Football League. Everton has not had smooth sailing either, as it sits bottom of the Premier League after three games. Doncaster’s Joe Ironside gave the hosts the lead just before the halftime break.

Everton’s newest signing, Beto, drew the Toffees level. Then, another new signing, Arnaut Danjuma, provided Everton with the lead. Despite holding on for that one-goal win, Everton looked dismal against one of the worst teams in the fourth tier. Sean Dyche has serious work to do if Everton is to turn these early-season struggles around.

Chelsea knows a thing or two about struggling over the last season. Much like Everton, Mauricio Pochettino’s side found itself trailing in the first half at home to AFC Wimbledon, another fourth-tier club. Noni Madueke’s penalty in first-half stoppage time at least got the Blues back on track. Then, Enzo Fernandez scored in the 72nd minute. Like Everton, Chelsea held on to its one-goal lead to see off a fourth-tier team.

EFL Cup third-round draw

With the 24 second-round games concluding, the Carabao Cup third-round draw happened on Wednesday. The other 12 teams from the Premier League join the 24 winners from Tuesday and Wednesday’s games. There are some incredible matchups in this early stage of the competition. For instance, there are five games involving two Premier League foes. The pick of the bunch is either Newcastle hosting Manchester City or Brighton traveling to Chelsea.

Ipswich vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers
Exeter vs. Luton Town
Aston Villa vs. Everton
Manchester United vs. Crystal Palace
Port Vale vs. Sutton
Bradford vs. Middlesbrough
Bournemouth vs. Stoke City
Lincoln vs. West Ham
Brentford vs. Arsenal
Chelsea vs. Brighton
Salford vs. Burnley
Fulham vs. Norwich City
Blackburn vs. Cardiff
Liverpool vs. Leicester City
Newcastle vs. Manchester City
Mansfield vs. Peterborough

The third round is scheduled for the week beginning Monday, Sep. 25. Coverage is available on ESPN+.

PHOTO: IMAGO / Sportsphoto