Manchester City crashed out of the Carabao Cup on penalties following a goalless draw with West Ham United last night. Having won the competition for the last four years running, there is some relief that there will be a new winner for the first time since 2017.
Just over five years to the day since their only previous League Cup defeat under Pep Guardiola, a 1-0 loss at Old Trafford, their incredible unbeaten streak in the competition came to an end. The run spanned 21 games and is the first time anyone has lifted the trophy in four consecutive years since Liverpool, from 1981-1984.
When a team has such a stronghold over a trophy, it’s often forgotten who else has tasted Carabao Cup glory. The four City victories were all against different finalists: Tottenham, Aston Villa, Chelsea and Arsenal, with the final against Chelsea in 2018-19 being decided on penalties.
With City also winning in 2014 and 2016, you have to go back 10 years to see five other winners.
Manchester United (2017)
One of three trophies that Jose Mourinho won in his first season as Manchester United boss, the dramatic 2017 final saw the Red Devils narrowly beat Southampton 3-2.
Claude Puel’s side were impressive throughout the game, with January signing Manolo Gabbiadini scoring both of their goals, and having one controversially ruled out, before Zlatan Ibrahimovic headed in a late winner.
Southampton were the first team since 1982 to reach the final without conceding a single goal and knocked Arsenal and Liverpool out in the process.
“This is what I came for, I came to win”#OnThisDay in 2017, Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored 2 goals as Manchester United won the League Cup against Southampton. pic.twitter.com/2JYGhsrgHu
— Sky Sports Retro (@SkySportsRetro) February 26, 2021
Going all the way back to 2015 means that this was yet another Jose Mourinho victory, in a 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur in the final.
Goals came from John Terry and Diego Costa in a fairly routine victory, where the only scare came in the 10th minute when Christian Eriksen rattled the crossbar from 25 yards out. Mourinho’s Blues also went on to win the Premier League that season.
Swansea City (2013)
Michael Laudrup’s Swansea City side won the hearts of neutrals throughout the 2012-13 season, and had silverware to show for it. With cult hero Michu, and the likes of Pablo Hernandez, Nathan Dyer and Ashley Williams, the Welsh side ran out 5-0 winners over League Two underdogs Bradford City.
This was one of the craziest League Cup campaigns to date. Then named the Capital One Cup, Bradford City had knocked out Premier League opposition in Wigan, Arsenal and Aston Villa en route to the final, whilst Swansea knocked out Liverpool and Chelsea.
Swansea’s semi-final victory over Chelsea was also notorious for a red card shown to Eden Hazard for kicking a ball boy.
The final was not free of drama either. Having already scored two in the game, Nathan Dyer had a chance to complete a hat-trick when Swansea were awarded a penalty in the 59th minute, but Jonathan De Guzman was adamant he would take it, causing a heated argument between the two.
De Guzman took it and scored, and at full time both players had forgotten their rift in the celebrations as the club lifted their first major trophy. The runners-up are arguably just as memorable as the winners, though…
READ: Remembering Bradford City’s incredible run to the League Cup final
In another dramatic final with lower league opposition, Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool beat Cardiff City on penalties following a 2-2 draw. Liverpool had beaten Chelsea and Man City on the way to Wembley, whilst Cardiff managed to avoid all top-flight opposition until the final, beating Crystal Palace in the semi-final.
Martin Skrtel and Dirk Kuyt thought they had secured a comeback victory for Liverpool after Joe Mason’s opener, before Ben Turner sparked wild celebrations with his 118th-minute equaliser to send the game to penalties.
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard missed his penalty in the shootout, but it was his cousin Anthony Gerrard who missed the final spot-kick, meaning Liverpool secured a 3-2 win over Malky Mackay’s Bluebirds.
Birmingham City (2011)
Birmingham City, who would go on to be relegated from the Premier League that season, secured a shock victory over heavy favourites Arsenal.
A side featuring Ben Foster, Nikola Zigic and former Gunners Seb Larsson and Alex Hleb (who missed the final through injury) came up against an Arsenal side aiming to end a five-year trophy drought.
Birmingham took an early lead through Zigic before Robin Van Persie scored a stunning equaliser, but it was the team in blue who had the last laugh.
A mix-up between goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and defender Laurent Koscielny meant that in the very last minute of the game, Obafemi Martins was able to roll the ball into an empty net and break Arsenal hearts.
Winning the trophy meant that Birmingham competed in the Europa League the following season, despite playing in the Championship.
On this day in 2011…
Birmingham beat Arsenal to win the League Cup thanks to Obafemi Martins.
Look at the limbs #BCFC
— The Second Tier (@secondtierpod) February 27, 2021
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