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The Start of the Carabao Cup

The League Cup has been contested since 1960 under various different sponsors, since the 2017/18 season it has been named the Carabao Cup after the Thai energy drink. With sponsorship since 1981 there is only one season the Cup failed to attract sponsorship, in the 2016/17 season when it was simply named the EFL Cup.

England's second most prestigious cup competition behind the FA Cup was designed to be for all the clubs in the Football League. When the Premier League was established those clubs were also entered into the knockout tournament.

The League Cup was originally established to raise the number of games for clubs and therefore up the revenue for the Football League member clubs during the season. It was also seen in the early days as a consolation prize for the teams not in contention for league success and who had been knocked out of the FA Cup. 

In recent years the Cup has received criticism as Premier League clubs began to play weakened teams in the early rounds only strengthening the closer they got to a spot in the Final at Wembley Stadium.

Early Carabao Cup Seasons

In its early seasons the League Cup was a two-legged affair with both finalists playing one home match. Aston Villa won that very first trophy in 1961, beating Rotherham in the Final. The League Cup had already established a finalist who may not gain success in the other major domestic trophies.

In the following season Rochdale reached the final. The Dale lost out to Norwich City, who won both home and away legs. Birmingham City beat Villa in a West Midlands derby in the third edition.

Then followed victories for Leicester City, Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion before the final became a one-legged affair played at Wembley Stadium (apart from when Wembley was being rebuilt) from 1967 onwards. 

Queen's Park Rangers won that first Wembley final beating the previous year's winners West Brom. If the final ended in a draw replays were held at neutral venues away from Wembley, for example in 1977 when two replays were needed to separate Aston Villa and Everton, played at Hillsborough and Old Trafford respectively.

The first League Cup final to end in a draw that was settled on the day came in 2001 when Liverpool defeated Birmingham City via a penalty shoot-out. This was also the first final held at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff while Wembley Stadium was being rebuilt. The final returned to Wembley for the 2008 final where Tottenham Hotspur beat Chelsea. 

Top Carabao Cup Teams

Liverpool FC have taken the League Cup back to Anfield eight times, their first victory in 1981 and their last in 2012. The Reds won the tournament for four consecutive seasons from 1981 to 1984 in a period where they dominated, not only this competition but also the English Football League. Liverpool will be looking to add to their tally in the 2021/22 season where Jurgen Klopp's men will face Chelsea in the Final on 27th February.

Manchester City Football Club have also won the competition eight times from 1970 to 2021, winning it six times in eight editions from 2014 onwards. They have completely dominated the competition with a squad capable of also competing in the UEFA Champions League and the Premier League. 

Aston Villa, Manchester United and Chelsea have all won the trophy on five occasions. 

Other multiple winners include Tottenham Hotspur (4), Nottingham Forest (4), Leicester City (3), Arsenal (2), Norwich City (2), Birmingham City (2) and Wolverhampton Wanderers (2). 

The 2020/21 Carabao Cup Season

Manchester City won the 2020/21 Carabao Cup at Wembley Stadium, defeating Tottenham Hotspur in front of just under 8,000 football fans at a reduced capacity Wembley Stadium. At kick-off Man City had won three Carabao Cups in a row, at full-time they had won four in a row. Aymeric Laporte got the late winner on this occasion.

Man City had got through city rivals Manchester United in the semi-finals and Arsenal at the Emirates in the quarters. Spurs beat Brentford in the semi-finals and Stoke City in the quarters.

The competition was unusual in that most games were played with no football tickets available due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Matchdays were eerily quiet with only the noise of the coaches and players ringing around the grounds. Arguably this helped the progression of the larger teams as the 'lesser' teams were without the support of a crowd to level the playing field. 

The 2021/22 Carabao Cup Final

Carabao Cup Tickets 2022 are now on sale. Get ticket prices at

The Final will be Chelsea vs Liverpool at Wembley Stadium on 27th February. 

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