Manchester City are odds on favourites to beat Sunderland at Wembley in the League Cup Final on Sunday 2 March 2014, but Sunderland have already defied the odds to knock out Chelsea and Manchester United and they beat Manchester City earlier this season. In this article, Steve Rogerson looks at both teams' routes to the final.
League Cup Final 2014: Manchester City versus Sunderland preview
Manchester City and Sunderland are set to meet in the final of the Capital One Cup at Wembley on Sunday 2 March 2014.
Wembley Stadium will host the League Cup Fiual
Photo by Steve Rogerson
Sunderland will be hoping to continue their amazing giant-killing run when they face Manchester City in the Capital One Cup Final at Wembley on Sunday 2 March 2014. The Black Cats, despite poor league form, have already knocked out fellow Premiership sides Chelsea, Manchester United and Southampton and are now looking a much stronger side under recently appointed manager Gus Poyet.
In fact, Sunderland’s journey has seen them play their League Cup matches under three different managers this season. Paolo di Canio was in charge when they started their campaign in August. Then caretaker Kevin Ball saw them through the third round. And Poyet has been at the helm since.
They should though find life a lot tougher against a Manchester City side that has been scoring for fun this year in the Premiership and the League Cup. But Sunderland will know they have the capability to beat City, as they have done so once already this season when they won 1-0 at the Stadium of Light in a Premiership clash in November. The two teams also met over the summer in the final of the Barclays Asia Trophy in Hong Kong where City came out 1-0 winners in the heavy rain.
Manchester City’s route to the final
Manchester City’s European commitments meant they didn’t enter the tournament until the third round when they thrashed Championship side Wigan Athletic 5-0. This was seen as revenge for last year’s FA Cup Final between the two sides, which saw Wigan come out on top.
The fourth round on paper looked a tougher prospect with a trip to St James’ Park to face Newcastle United, and indeed City struggled for 90 minutes to break down United, forcing the game into extra time. But late goals from Alvaro Negredo and Edin Dzeko saw City through 2-0.
The quarter final was more comfortable with a 3-1 win away at Championship side Leicester City to set up a two-legged semi-final against Premiership strugglers West Ham United. This was all over bar the shouting after City stormed to a 6-0 lead at Eastlands, helped by a hat-trick from Negredo. They then added another three (including two more from Negredo) with no reply in the away leg at Upton Park.
Sunderland’s route to the final
Sunderland’s journey to Wembley started back in August with a 4-2 victory over MK Dons in the second round at the Stadium of Light, but it nearly all went wrong when they found themselves 2-0 down to the League One side. But four goals in the final 12 minutes saw the Black Cats through. The third round was more comfortable as they beat another League One side, Peterborough United, 2-0 at home.
The fourth round saw them take their first Premiership scalp when they beat Southamption 2-1, but they had to wait until the hour mark before Phil Bardsley broke the deadlock. Substitute Seb Larsson added a late second before the Saints pulled one back in injury time. This set up a quarter-final tie with Gus Poyet’s former club Chelsea. High-flying Chelsea had taken the lead early in the second half but there was then high drama with a last minute equaliser from Fabio Borini. This brought on extra time and it was all looking set for a penalty shoot-out until Ki Sung-Yueng grabbed the winner with two minutes left on the clock.
Not many gave Sunderland much hope in the two-legged semi-final against Manchester United, despite United struggling a little under new manager David Moyes. But they earned a narrow 2-1 lead after the home tie and went to Old Trafford determined to defend it. A goal by United’s Jonny Evans in the first half took the match to extra time and Sunderland were celebrating when Phil Bardsley looked to have scored the winner in the second period. But it was not to be as United scored a late equaliser. There then followed a farcical penalty shoot-out in which only three of the ten penalties hit the spot, but they went 2-1 in Sunderland’s favour to earn them a place in the final.
Football betting odds for Sunderland vs Manchester City
Not surprisingly, Manchester City are odds-on favourites to win this in ninety minutes with the best on offer being a miserly 1/3. Those who fancy a gamble on Sunderland winning though can get odds as high as 10/1 from some bookmakers. Most have gone for 4/1 or 5/1 for the draw.
History of the League Cup
The League Cup is open to teams in the top four divisions of English football. The trophy dates back to 1960-61 but was not always compulsory. When the prize for winning was increased to include a place in the Uefa Cup (now the Europa League) for the following season, interest grew among the top clubs. Since 1981, the rights to name the cup have been given to sponsors, and the first to take up that were the Milk Marketing Board and thus from 1981 to 1986 it was known as the Milk Cup (sadly not the Butter Cup). Since then, the trophy has been named after Littlewoods, Rumbelows, Coca-Cola, Worthington and Carling before the current sponsors named it the Capital One Cup last year.