After beating Aston Villa comfortably last week, Wolves managed to contain Premier League table toppers Manchester City in the League Cup to a 0-0 draw, before losing on penalties.
It was a game that threw up some interesting talking points.
First of all, from a Villa point of view, it was a further indication of how good Wolves actually are this season in terms of being legit Championship title contenders.
Most teams in the Premier League can’t lay a glove on City at the moment, so Wolves getting a clean sheet there after 120 mins against a decent City line-up, was impressive.
City boss Pep Guardiola made special mention of Wolves counterattacking ability in his post-match comments.
“They were so fast,” he offered up in praise.
The most intriguing thing Pep said though was reserved for the match ball, the same Mitre Delta ball that is used in all Championship league matches.
“The ball was unacceptable for a high-level competition,” Guardiola said. “It is too light, it moves all over the place, it is not a good ball.
“It is impossible to score with a ball like that and I can say that because we won, I’m not making excuses.
“All of my players said: ‘What is that?’
“[It’s] not a serious ball for a serious competition. It’s [for] marketing, money, OK but it’s not acceptable – [it has] no weight, nothing.”
Since Premier League teams play with a different ball during the season, the City boss was asked if his players had much time to train with the Mitre Delta?
“One day or two days, but the ball is bad for one year or two years, it’s not acceptable. All the players complain,” he added.
Was Pep just trying to save face after having a close shave against a Championship side? Certainly, MOMS hasn’t heard any Championship managers moan about the ball.
It does beg the question, what do the Aston Villa players think of the ball?
MOMS has noticed some unexpected movement in the air in the odd Villa game, but it’s hard to even imply that the Mitre ball has affected Villa’s progress this season. The style of play and players becoming familiar with each other, have been the biggest hurdles the team has had to address in that respect.
It would still certainly be a question worth putting to Steve Bruce in an upcoming press conference though.
The EFL have issued the following statement after Guardiola comments:
EFL STATEMENT: MITRE BALL
The Mitre ball used in this season’s Carabao Cup is of exactly the same technical specification as the balls used in the Sky Bet EFL and Checkatrade Trophy, all of which are tested in accordance with the “FIFA Quality Programme for Footballs” and meet the “FIFA Quality Pro” standard. All balls used in the professional game are required to meet this standard.
Clearly, preference is a subjective matter, but overall the entertainment provided across last night’s Round Four ties would suggest that the ball used is not having a negative impact in the competition.
We will look to engage with Mr Guardiola and Manchester City to fully understand any concerns in advance of their Round Five tie.
If you want to make your own mind up about the ball, coincidently, MOMS is currently running a competition to win a Mitre Delta (RRP £115) – you can enter the competition here.