Ahead of Sunday’s showdown between Manchester City and Liverpool, here are six memorable League Cup finals to whet the appetite…
Arsenal 1-3 Swindon Town – 1969
In what remains one of the biggest shocks ever seen at Wembley, League Three side Swindown humiliated a highly-rated Arsenal side. Swindon were under the cosh for most of the first half under their took the lead against the run of play through Roger Smart. The Gunners sent the game into extra-time through Bobby Gould, before Don Rogers wrote his name into the history books with two goals for the Robins late on.
Aston Villa 3-2 Everton – 1977
Three matches were required to separate the teams in this one, after a goalless draw at Wembley and a 1-1 draw at Hillsborough, where Bob Lathford kept the Toffees in the game with a last minute equaliser. At the third time of trying, though, Villa wasn’t going to be denied, after a sensational strike from centre-back Chris Nicoll and Brian Little’s brace finally broke the Merseysiders’ resistence.
Liverpool 2 Manchester United 1 – 1983
Few matches in the world can produce the intensity that a showdown between English football’s two most successful teams, and this one was no different. Norman Whiteside gave the Red Devils the early lead but goals from Alan Kennedy and Ronnie Whelan handed Liverpool their third successive League Cup title.
Luton Town 3-2 Arsenal – 1988
Arsenal have lost in more League Cup finals than any other side and on this occasion it was Luton Town who gave the Gunners grief at Wembley. With eight minutes left Arsenal were leading 2-1 when they awarded a penalty that should have put the result beyond question. Instead, Andy Dibble saved Nigel Winterburn’s spot kick to spark a remarkable turnaround. Danny Wilson’s header brought the Hatters level before Mark Stein 90th minute free-kick gave them their only major trophy.
Chelsea 3-2 Liverpool – 2005
The match took place with Jose Mourinho’s pursuit of Steven Gerrard part of the narrative. John Arne Riise volleyed Liverpool into the lead in the first minute before Gerrard’s own goal 11 minutes from time brought the Blues level, which resulted Mourinho shushing the crowd and then sent to the dressing room for the remainder of the game. In the additional time goals from Didier Drogba and Mateja Kezman won the trophy for Chelsea – Mourinho’s first in England – even though Antonio Nunez added a late consolation for the Reds.
Arsenal 1-2 Birmingham – 2011
Whilst Birmingham still haven’t recovered from their relegation from the Premier League in the same season, they did have something to celebrate in an ultimately disappointing season. Once again, Arsenal were the huge favourites for the win once again but found themselves behind after Nikola Zigic pounced on a mistake at the Gunners back. Robin van Persie brought Arsenal level before the half-time interval, but a calamitous Arsenal defensive mix-up two minutes from full-time allowed Obafemi Martins in and the Nigerian made no mistake with the finish.