League Cup Final 2013 Preview

Friday, 22, February, 2013

Swansea and Bradford managers Michael Laudrup and Phil Parkinson

Sunday’s League Cup Final looks like being one of the most intriguing finals in the history of the competition. Who would have predicted that Bradford City and Swansea City would be going head to head at Wembley?

Historically there are far more similarities than differences between the clubs but given the difference in league positions and budgets, Swansea will be firm favourites to lift the trophy.

However, don’t discount Bradford; their fairytale cup run has already seen them knock out Premier League sides Wigan Athletic, Arsenal and Aston Villa and on the day have a real chance of making history.
What sort of game can we expect? If Bradford and Swansea’s form this season is anything to go by then we could be in for a treat.

Under previous manager Brendan Rodgers, the Swans were renowned for their patient passing, but new coach Michael Laudrup has introduced a more direct attacking style that sacrifices some possession in order to create more scoring chances.

One of the most pleasing things about Bradford’s cup run has been their fearless approach to playing bigger opposition. The Bantams haven’t been afraid to have a go at teams, often pinning them back with impressive counter-attacking flair and always pose a threat from set-pieces.

Hopefully this means we’re in for a thriller that will please fans and neutrals alike.

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

• Bradford and Swansea have never met before in a major cup competition.
• The last time the clubs met was on 13 January 2007 in a League One fixture in front of just 7,347 fans and the match finished Bradford 2 – 2 Swansea.
• Bradford's Nathan Doyle and Swansea's Leon Britton, who are both expected to play on Sunday, both played in the 2007 game.
• Three of the last four meetings have ended level.
• Swansea’s last loss to Bradford was a 5-1 defeat at Valley Parade on 30 March 1996.

Bradford City

• Bradford City are the first team from the fourth tier of English football to reach the League Cup Final since Rochdale in 1962.
• Bradford have won their last nine penalty shoot outs, an English record.
• Bradford have kept clean sheets in only two of their last 15 League Cup ties.

Swansea City

• The Swans are in their first ever major final. Previously they had never gone beyond the fourth round of the League Cup or the semi-finals of The FA Cup.
• Swansea have kept clean sheets in their last three League Cup games. They have gone 284 minutes since conceding against Liverpool in the Fourth Round.
• Swansea have made three appearances at Wembley; winning the Football League Trophy in 1994, losing the 1997 Third Division Play-Off Final and winning the 2011 Championship Play-Off Final.