The best League Cup finals
by Nick Royle, 22 February 2008
Tottenham face Chelsea at Wembley in the Carling Cup on Sunday in good shape, having barely bothered to break sweat during the 1-1 UEFA Cup round of 32 second leg draw with Slavia Prague on Thursday.
Today’s XI at 11 remembers some of the best League Cup finals of years past.
Do you agree with our order, or feel that we have left any out? Let us know via the feedback form at the bottom of the page.
1/ Arsenal 1-3 Swindon Town. AET. 1969.
The great League Cup shock. Third division Swindon humbled mighty Arsenal at Wembley, as Don Rogers scored twice in extra-time. The Gunners blamed the flu bug that had hit them the week before, and the cut up pitch from the Horse of the Year show.
2/ Aston Villa 3-1 Manchester United. 1994.
Villa denied United the domestic treble, winning 3–1 thanks to a goal from Dalian Atkinson and two (one penalty) from Dean Saunders. Andrei Kanchelskis was sent off for the deliberate handball that led to the spot-kick. United's goal came from Mark Hughes. It was a sweet result for Villa boss Ron Atkinson, who United had sacked in 1986.
3/ Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 Manchester United. 1991.
But it was not the first time Big Ron had embarrassed United. His then second-tier Sheffield Wednesday beat United 1-0 at Wembley, thanks to John Sheridan’s strike. Sheridan was raised in the streets of Stretford outside Old Trafford, and was a boyhood United fan. The failure of Yorkshire Television to show Wednesday’s cup celebrations caused anger amongst Owls’ fans, who accused the company of pro-Leeds United bias. It showed War of the Monster Trucks instead.
4/ Liverpool 1-1 Birmingham City. AET. Liverpool won 5-4 on penalties. 2001.
The first final at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, there was heartache for Andy Johnson, who missed the crucial penalty in the sudden death shootout. The shootout also contained the rare event of a German missing from 12 yards, as Didi Hamann missed his kick. Liverpool opened the scoring with a goal from Robbie Fowler in the 30th minute, but Birmingham equalised in injury-time with a penalty from Darren Purse. The victory was Liverpool's first major trophy in six years.
5/ QPR 3-2 West Bromwich Albion. 1967.
The first final to be played at Wembley, a Rodney Marsh inspired Queens Park Rangers of the Third Division beat top-flight West Brom 3-2 after being 2-0 down to a Clive Clark brace. However, Roger Morgan, Marsh and Mark Lazarus netted in the second half to give the R’s a famous victory.
6/ Oxford United 3-0 QPR. 1986.
Oxford’s only major trophy, goals from Trevor Hebberd, Ray Houghton and Jeremy Charles gave them a 3-0 win at Wembley. Oxford had won promotion from the Third to the First Division in two seasons, and that run had been overseen by Jim Smith, who had left to take over QPR. Maurice Evans, the new Oxford manager, decided that the club’s long-serving physiotherapist, Ken Fish, should collect a winners’ medal instead of him.
7/ Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool. 1987.
Arsenal's goals were both scored by Charlie Nicholas, who Liverpool had once tried to sign only to baulk at the Scot’s ‘lifestyle issues’. Ian Rush scored Liverpool's opener, but the adage 'when Rushie scores Liverpool never lose' was finally disproven. It was the first trophy The Gunners won under manager George Graham.
8/ Manchester United 1-2 Liverpool. AET. 1983.
Norman Whiteside scored the opener for Manchester United, before Alan Kennedy equalised with 15 minutes to go. Ronnie Whelan scored the winner in the eighth minute of extra-time with a superb curler. It was the second year in a row that Liverpool had achieved the League Championship/League Cup double.
9/ Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal. 2007.
Arsenal’s kids took on the grizzled might of champions Chelsea, and treated them to a first-half masterclass. Theo Walcott scored the opening goal, his first for Arsenal, but Didier Drogba scored both of Chelsea's goals in the second half to give manager Jose Mourinho his second League Cup win. John Terry was knocked out when kicked in the jaw by Abou Diaby, but recovered enough to return from hospital to make the post-match celebrations.
10/ Liverpool 2-3 Chelsea. AET. 2005.
John Arne Riise netted for Liverpool inside the first minute, a League Cup final record. Chelsea equalised when the Blues’ long-time target Steven Gerrard headed a Paulo Ferreira free-kick into his own net.
Mourinho was sent off for his 'finger to the lips' celebration of the goal, and had to watch from the stands the extra-time goals from Didier Drogba and Mateja Kezman. Antonio Nunez netted his only ever Liverpool goal to make it 3-2 with eight minutes to go, but the Reds could not find an equaliser.
11/ Liverpool 2-0 Manchester United. 2003.
A superb Steven Gerrard goal on 39 minutes, and a smart finish from Michael Owen on 86 minutes gave Liverpool a Millennium Stadium win over their rivals from up the M62.