WEST YORKSHIRE has been handed two pre-Christmas Capital One Cup occasions to savour, with Bradford City and Leeds United receiving mouth-watering home quarter-final ties against Arsenal and Chelsea in last night’s draw.
City, the lowest-ranked Football League side to book a last-eight spot since Wycombe Wanderers in 2006-07, have finally been handed the tie they have been craving in their first appearance at this stage of the competition since January 1989 when the Gunners head to Valley Parade for the first time since September 2000 next month.
Meanwhile, United’s run of home draws continued with a fifth successive Elland Road date in this year’s competition against arch-rivals Chelsea, with no love lost between the pair since the FA Cup final of 1970.
Neil Warnock’s Whites are seeking to make it a hat-trick of top-flight scalps against the West Londoners, whose former chairman Ken Bates is at the helm at the club, after fine successes over Southampton and Everton.
That tie will be played on December 19 due to Roberto di Matteo’s side’s commitments in the Club World Cup in Japan.
Also in the draw along with the Bantams and Leeds were Middlesbrough, with it being only the second time that three Yorkshire sides have reached the quarter-finals of the League Cup in the same year.
The first occasion arrived over half a century ago way back in the competition’s second season of 1961-62 when Sheffield United, Rotherham United and York City all lost out at the last-eight stage.
The luckless Teessiders, fresh from sending North East rivals Sunderland packing in round four, have been handed an unlucky 13th successive away fixture in the competition and will make the long journey to Swansea City, who knocked out holders Liverpool 3-1 last night.
The other tie sees Norwich welcome Aston Villa, managed by ex-Canaries boss Paul Lambert.
The ties, other than the Leeds versus Chelsea clash, will be played on the week beginning December 10.
Daniel Sturridge was happy to put a smile back on Chelsea fans’ faces after scoring the fourth in his side’s remarkable 5-4 victory over Manchester United in an exhilarting tie at Stamford Bridge last night.
The Blues were on the wrong end of a controversial Premier League defeat to last night’s opposition on Sunday, with Javier Hernandez scoring a late winner.
The London club last night lodged a formal complaint with the FA over “inappropriate language” they claim referee Mark Clattenburg used against John Obi Mikel in the acrimonious defeat.
But the Blues decided not to pursue an allegation referee Clattenburg also used words understood to have been interpreted as racist towards Juan Mata
Last night, however, they fought back from 2-0 down to make it 3-3 at the end of normal time, with further goals from Sturridge and Ramires enough to cancel out Ryan Giggs’ late penalty.
“It’s great,” said a delighted Sturridge.
“It’s important that we came out here with the right attitude because the manager criticised us for not starting well enough (on Sunday).
“It’s just about putting a smile on the fans’ faces again because I feel that they were disappointed after the weekend.”
It was Sturridge’s first start of the season with boss Roberto di Matteo electing to start Fernando Torres in every game before last night’s clash.
“I’ve been out of the starting positions so I didn’t feel as sharp in front of goal.
“I’m delighted I scored but I know I need to get sharper.
“I’m really glad the manager gave me the chance up front today, that’s all I’ve wanted throughout my Chelsea career.
“I’m really happy that he’s put faith in me tonight and hopefully he’ll do it again.”
Last night also saw holders Liverpool eliminated when Brendan Rodgers’s team suffered a 3-1 defeat at home to his former club Swnasea.
Norwich City needed to late goals to deny Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at Carrow Road to book a home tie against Aston Villa.
How they shape up in last eight
Leeds v Chelsea
Swansea v Middlesbrough
Norwich v Aston Villa
Bradford v Arsenal