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Carabao Cup

The League Cup: 2010-2019

Our decade-by-decade review of the competition continues with some memorable Finals in the 2010s!

29 February 2020

A decade dominated by Manchester City, the 2010s also brought up the 50th anniversary of the competition, one of the great all-time shocks and a record eighth triumph for Liverpool.


Amazingly, this was the first time Manchester United had ever retained a major trophy, doing so at the expense of Aston Villa in the 50th anniversary Final.

Villa took the lead in the fifth minute of the game, via a James Milner penalty, but Michael Owen equalised for United seven minutes later. Wayne Rooney, who replaced the injured Owen shortly before half-time, scored the winner with 16 minutes remaining.

The win gave them their fourth League Cup trophy, their third in five years and their second in succession, becoming the first team to retain the trophy since Nottingham Forest in 1990.


Arguably the most memorable modern-day Final saw Birmingham City upset the odds to topple Arsenal at Wembley, and in dramatic fashion too.

The Gunners were on a six-year trophy drought and clear favourites to win the match, but it was Ben Foster who would make the headlines once again, winning the Alan Hardaker Trophy for a second time.

In what was Birmingham's first appearance in the final of a major competition at Wembley for nearly 55 years, they won it with two minutes to spare through Obafemi Martins, but would go on to be relegated later the same season.


In 2012, Kenny Dalglish led Liverpool to their eighth and most recent League Cup. It was also his first as a manager, following the four he won as a player.

They had to do it the hard way, as Cardiff – appearing in their first Final - took the lead and then equalised late in extra-time to make it 2-2. Having won penalty shoot-outs in Rome, Cardiff and Istanbul, Liverpool did it again here, despite Steven Gerrard’s miss. His cousin Anthony, playing for Cardiff, also missed from the spot.

"We wanted to come here and win today but the players have done the club proud, I think today we were playing against a top team and I think we have got a lot to be proud of,” said Cardiff boss Malky Mackay.


Bradford City, of League Two, were appearing in their first major cup final since they won the 1911 FA Cup, and were the first fourth-tier side to reach the League Cup Final since Rochdale in ‘62. Swansea City, of the Premier League, were appearing in their first major English cup final in their 101-year history. It was a mismatch on paper, and so it proved.

The top-flight side played an excellent brand of football under Roberto Martinez and ran out comfortable 5-0 winners at Wembley, with Bradford’s first shot on target arriving three minutes from time. Their support was superb, but there was nothing they could do about the result.

It was the first time the League Cup had been won by a non-English club.


In 2014, Manchester City were expected to cruise to victory against a relegation-threatened Sunderland side, but had to come from behind at Wembley to lift the trophy.

Fabio Borini opened the scoring to wild celebrations in the Sunderland end, but the game will be remembered for a stunning effort from Yaya Toure, as Manuel Pellegrini won his first piece of silverware as City boss.

They would go on to win the Premier League, while Sunderland remarkably saved themselves from the drop.


Like City the year before them, Chelsea’s League Cup triumph in 2015 proved a forerunner for the league title. It was League Cup number three for Jose Mourinho, in his second spell as manager, as his side saw off Tottenham at Wembley, in a repeat of the ’08 Final.

“Before the game, I had the same feelings as my first Final,” the Chelsea boss said after the game. “I feed myself with titles.”


The year 2016 brought another record tumbling, as Liverpool lost their first-ever penalty shoot-out in a final, following two hours of what was an entertaining contest against Manchester City.

In the shoot-out, Willy Caballero – preferred to Joe Hart - denied Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho and Lucas Leiva. It was City’s fourth triumph in the competition, and their period of League Cup dominance was well under way.


The EFL Cup. The Final was the first League Cup Final contested under the name following the renaming of The Football League to the English Football League (EFL). And Mourinho was back again.

The match was Manchester United's ninth final in the competition, having won in their last three appearances and four overall, and Southampton's second, having lost their only other League Cup Final in 1979. It was the second cup final played between the two sides, following the 1976 FA Cup Final, when Southampton – then of the Second Division – beat First Division Manchester United 1–0.

In the end, 35-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic's late winner secured the trophy for United at the end of a pulsating Final, which the Reds won 3-2. The win brought Mourinho level with Sir Alex Ferguson and Brian Clough as the most successful manager in the League Cup after his fourth triumph.


In 2018, Pep Guardiola secured his first trophy as Manchester City manager as they overpowered Arsenal to win the Carabao Cup in convincing fashion at Wembley. "This win is not for me, it's for Manchester City," Guardiola said afterwards.

The win was City’s biggest-ever cup final victory, as well as the Gunners' biggest ever loss in a cup final. It also saw City become one of only four sides to lift the trophy on four successive League Cup final visits (alongside Aston Villa, Liverpool and Manchester United).


Last season’s Final saw City back to defend their trophy, and defend it they did, beating Chelsea in a penalty shoot-out after a tense 120 minutes of football.

Raheem Sterling scored the decisive spot-kick as City claimed a sixth League Cup, and a third in four years.

A side note saw Callum Hudson-Odoi - aged 18 years and 109 days - became Chelsea's second-youngest player to appear in a League Cup Final, after John Boyle (18 years 80 days) in 1965.

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