By News Team
Last Updated: 7th April 2021
Some say that the League Cup has lost its magic in recent years, but when you’re walking down Wembley Way on final day, fans certainly still get excited.
Here’s our look at some of the greatest finals from the competition of all time.
Aston Villa vs Everton – March 12–April 13, 1977
The ‘Never Ending Game’ was given its nickname because it is the only final in English cup history to have been played over three games.
In front of 100,000 fans, the first game ended in a goalless draw at Wembley. It was then announced that the replay would be held at Hillsborough. Villa looked set to have their hands on the trophy until Everton’s Bob Latchford scored with one of the final kicks of the game to take the match to a second replay.
The second replay was held at Old Trafford one month after the first game had taken place. This time we finally had a winner with Villa coming home as champions after defeating the Toffees 3-2 after extra-time.
This game triggered the invention of the penalty shootout in English competitions and it is clear to see why.
Luton Town 3-2 Arsenal – April 24, 1988
This game will forever be remembered as one of the best, if not the greatest, underdog stories in League Cup history.
Luton Town, who were playing in their first ever League Cup final, came up against an Arsenal side who were on brilliant form. Luton shocked everyone as they went 1-0 up but two quick-fire goals in the space of three minutes put Arsenal back in the driving seat.
The Gunners were awarded a penalty with ten minutes to go but Andy Dibble, Luton’s back-up keeper, saved from Nigel Winterburn before then making a string of brilliant saves.
Luton went on the march and managed to get their equaliser with five minutes to go before Brian Stein rose the highest in stoppage time to score with virtually the last kick of the game to seal Luton’s dream victory.
Chelsea 3-2 Liverpool – February 27, 2005
Two big clubs possessing some of the best players in the whole of Europe came up against each other in the 2005 League Cup final, and it certainly did not disappoint…
The game was tipped to be a very cagey affair but that was proven to be a myth as after just 30 seconds Liverpool took the lead through a John Arne Riise stunner, leaving Chelsea stunned. The Blues struggled to get back into the game but in the 79th minute, a lofty cross was sent into the Liverpool box and Steven Gerrard headed into his own net to take the game to extra-time. Goals from Didier Drogba and Mateja Kezman saw Chelsea go 3-1 up before Antonio Nunez got a consolation goal back for Liverpool.
The final whistle blew, and Jose Mourinho had won his first trophy in England. The revolution had begun in Cardiff.
Chelsea 1 – 2 Spurs – February 24, 2008
Being the first League Cup final to be played at the new Wembley, this tie was always going to be a special one. It was also the first Carabao Cup final to be played in England since the old Wembley was demolished shortly after the turn of the century.
The two London clubs met in front of over 87,000 fans with the defending champions, Chelsea, who had defeated Everton in the semi-finals facing Spurs, who overcame their north London rivals Arsenal by an aggregate score of 6-2.
The Blues opened the scoring thanks to a Didier Drogba free-kick, a goal that made the Ivorian the first player to score in three separate League Cup finals. Spurs equalised through a Dimitar Berbatov penalty before Jonathan Woodgate converted a last-gasp header, securing victory for the lilywhites. It was an important win for Spurs as not only did they win silverware, they also secured qualification for the Europa League.
Arsenal 1-2 Birmingham – February 27, 2011
Birmingham City had not won a major piece of silverware since 1963 before this day in 2011. They took on an Arsenal side that were going through a rebuilding stage…
After a very tentative first 30 minutes, Birmingham took the lead thanks to their absolute giant of a striker, Nikola Zigic, who rose the highest to nod the ball into the back of the net. Their lead did not last for long, though, as Robin van Persie equalised less than ten minutes later and only five minutes before half-time.
With the game heading for extra-time, a calamitous mistake from Arsenal’s defence allowed Obafemi Martins to convert the ball into the back of the net. The south side of Wembley’s celebrations could be heard for miles as Birmingham won their first trophy in 48 years.