Tottenham were unceremoniously dumped out of the Carabao Cup by Nottingham Forest on Wednesday evening to deliver a major blow to Antonio Conte’s hopes of lifting a trophy this season. The north Londoners have not done so since winning the same competition back in 2008 and would have been hoping to reach the fourth round of this year’s tournament by defeating Forest but were ultimately knocked out in spite of their best efforts.
Conte named a fairly strong side for Thursday’s trip to Nottingham with the likes of Harry Kane, Clement Lenglet and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg all selected to start for the visitors, but Tottenham struggled to get going and were prevented from breaking the deadlock in the early stages of the match. Forest did well to establish themselves in the tie and managed to make it to half-time without conceding before turning the screw in the second half, with Renan Lodi opening the scoring for the Reds shortly after the break.
The 24-year-old, who is currently on loan at Forest from Spanish giants Atletico Madrid, picked up the ball before dancing into space on the edge of the area and beating Fraser Forster with a curling effort that sailed into the back of the net. It got even better for the home side just seven minutes later when Jesse Lingard headed home from close range after taking advantage of Tottenham’s questionable defensive positioning.
Conte quickly turned to the bench in order to help Tottenham force their way back into proceedings, with Richarlison, Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur joining the action as the clock ticked down. Their task was made slightly easier when Forest midfielder Orel Mangala was dismissed after picking up two yellow cards, but it simply wasn’t to be for Spurs on a cold night under the lights at the City Ground.
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The result saw Tottenham dumped out of the Carabao Cup in round three for the first time since 2019, when they were humbled away from home by Colchester United on penalties. It remains to be seen whether they will be able to end their trophy drought by winning another competition between now and the end of the season, with only the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup left for Spurs to fight for.
It seems highly unlikely that Tottenham will be able to get themselves into contention to win the Premier League over the coming months, with Arsenal and Manchester City having already established themselves as the two standout favourites to claim the spoils. A debut Champions League triumph is also little more than a pipe dream for Conte’s squad at present, which suggests that the FA Cup will be the only major honour that they could realistically win before the season draws to a close.
Tottenham have enjoyed a decent start to the season in the grand scheme of things but will have been left bitterly disappointed by Thursday’s defeat at the hands of Forest, who fully deserved their win despite needing to survive a late Spurs onslaught in order to cling on to their two-goal advantage. The visitors will now be looking to issue the perfect response in their next Premier League match against Leeds United on Sunday, which will mark their final outing until after the World Cup ends in mid-December.
Elsewhere on Wednesday, Arsenal were also knocked out of the Carabao Cup in the third round as they failed to beat Brighton, who went behind early on but replied with three goals to register a comfortable win over the Premier League leaders at the Emirates Stadium. It was a better result for Manchester City, though, with the defending English champions registering a routine victory over Chelsea thanks to second-half strikes from Riyad Mahrez and Julian Alvarez.
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