The first piece of silverware of the year is up for grabs today at Wembley Stadium with Premier League heavyweights Manchester United and Chelsea fighting it out at the home of English football. Out of the FA Cup, this is the most realistic chance Chelsea will have to claim a trophy this year, as they languish in a disappointing ninth place in the league, some 20 points behind their opponents today and facing Lyon in the Europa league next month.
In contrast, Manchester United sit second in the Premier League, three points behind Spurs (a three-goal win in their game-in-hand would see them top on goal difference). Manchester United were also knocked out of the FA Cup at the first opportunity, and are currently licking their wounds after a 4-0 mauling at AC Milan in the first knockout stage of the Champions’ League. GS’s Wigan fell at in the third round 1-0 at Fulham after a 3-0 win at home to Rotherham in the second round.
Road To The Final – Manchester United:
R3: h v. Cardiff City 1-1 (3-2 pens)
R4: a v.v Blackburn Rovers 2-0
QF: h v. Southampton 3-0
SF1: a v. Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-2
SF2: h v. Wolverhampton Wanderers 4-0 (5-2 agg)
Road To The Final – Chelsea:
R3: h v. Tottenham Hotspur 3-1
R4: h v. Tranmere Rovers 4-0
QF: h v. Fulham 3-1
SF1: h v. Queens Park Rangers 3-0
SF2: a v. Queens Park Rangers 3-3 (6-3 agg)
League Cup 2012/13:
Holders: Liverpool (R4, h v. Wolves, 2-3)
Top Scorer: Ebanks-Blake (Wolves) 6
Real-Life: Bradford City (R2, h v. Reading 3-4) v. Swansea City (R3, a v. QPR 0-1)
BBC Manchester: “I’ve not had an easy time picking a winner here but I think Chelsea will edge this game. Man Utd’s task will not be made any easier by the ansemce of Robin van Persie and Nani.”
League Cup Final 2013, livetexts @realtimeFM:
0′ Referee Martin Atkinson (G53 Y158 R6 P7) gets us underway here at Wembley. Manchester United kick-off in the League Cup Final.
3′ First corner of the game, Wellbeck (who hasn’t scored since Halloween) has a shot deflected wide. Comes to nothing.
10′ Little of note until a soft free-kick ends in Chelsea winning a corner, their first of the game. Ben Arfa floats it in but Powell clears.
20′ Glorious chance for Ben Arfa who bursts through into the area but he strikes high and wide from 15 yards. Still 0-0.
22′ Rooney gets on the end of a through-ball and takes it first time drawing a smart save from Cech. He’s first to rebound but cleared.
28′ 1-0 MAN UTD. KAGAWA is played in by Rooney after a neat one-two with Wellbeck and slots home from 12 yards.
40′ Five to go in the first-half. Other than the goal it’s been very evenly-balanced, Chelsea have a spell of pressure leading to a corner.
45+1′ 2-0 MAN UTD. Wellbeck taps Rafael’s cross down for ROONEY to double the lead from 6 yards, with less than ten seconds before HT.
Half-Time: Manchester United 2-0 Chelsea (Kagawa 28, Rooney 45)
46′ Second half now underway, Manchester United 2-0 Chelsea. One change each at the break: Evans replaces Wellbeck, Mikel replaces Luiz.
54′ GOAL CHELSEA. Captain Frank LAMPARD lets fly from 20 yards with a trademark strike after Mata squares it across the box. 2-1.
56′ 3-1! Straight from the kick-off, Rooney wins a FK 25 yards out. AOGO bends it beautifully round the wall into the top corner.
64′ Nick Powell has picked up a knock here after a heavy challenge from Frank Lampard (who got the first booking of the game).
65′ Carrick replaces Jones; Hazard replaces Oscar.
66′ Valencia replaces the injured Powell for Man Utd, leading 3-1.
75′ Into the final 15 here and Manchester United are comfortable in possession. Mata and Hazard look dangerous on the break though.
81′ Mata drives forward and crashes a shot towards goal but it’s high, wide and not very handsome. Hazard then clatters Rafael who goes off.
86′ Five to play. Chelsea are pouring forward but full backs mopping everything up. Goal would change things, but at 3-1 MUFC are in command.
90′ Three minutes of stoppage time indicated by the fourth official.
RESULT: Manchester United 3 – 1 Chelsea: Kagawa 28, Rooney 45+1, Aogo 56 – Lampard 54.