The first major trophy of the English soccer season will be given out this Sunday at 11 AM at Wembley Stadium. The Capital One Cup will be a London battle between Chelsea and Tottenham. While this trophy isn’t as prestigious as the FA Cup or the Premier League title, it still has a special place in English soccer. Here are some other things to know about the Capital One Cup.
Origins of the Capital One Cup
The Capital One Cup, also known as the Football League Cup, was a tournament created in 1960 mainly as a way to take advantage of weeknight gametimes due to teams installing lights in their stadiums in the 50’s. As opposed to the FA Cup, where that tournament is open to the top ten levels in English soccer, the Capital One Cup is only open to the 92 teams in the top four levels.
Winners of the Capital One Cup
A total of 23 teams have won the Capital One Cup. Liverpool leads all teams, winning eight times (’81-’84, ’95, ’01, ’03, ’12). Regardless of who wins Sunday, either Tottenham (’71, ’73, ’99, ’08) or Chelsea (’65, ’98, ’05, ’07) will win for the fifth time and move into a tie with Aston Villa (’61, ’75, ’77, ’94, ’96) for 2nd on the all time list.
How teams treat the Capital One Cup
Due to a lack of prize money and prestige, many teams treat this tournament on a lower priority. Many top teams field reserve or younger sides so this tournament relies more on depth. It also means an opportunity for lower teams to field their top lineups to try and take out the giants. Notable upsets in the League Cup Final from lower league teams include Norwich City (’62), QPR (’67 – Level 3), Swindon Town (’69), Aston Villa (’75) and Sheffield Wednesday (’91).
Timing of the Final
The Capital One Cup is presented in March. This is far earlier than the usual period of May and June when trophies are usually played for. The Capital One Cup provides a unique opportunity for a team to obtain a bit of a “pick-me-up” for the rest of the season. Whether a team is fighting for an EPL title, a top four spot or not relegating, winning the Capital One Cup can be a confidence booster.
This Sunday pits two teams who are in different positions. Chelsea is the EPL leader and are looking for their first trophy in a possible treble (along with EPL and Champions League titles). Tottenham is in the fight for the two remaining Champions League spots and after just getting eliminated from the Europa League as well as the FA Cup, this is Tottenham’s last shot at a trophy this year. Tottenham is looking to win in order to give them the momentum to a top four spot. It’s going to be a colossal matchup between two great teams. Catch it on beIN Sport this Sunday at 11 AM ET.