Capital One Cup Final: Manchester City v Sunderland

Published: Feb 27, 2014 13:19pm EST
By Jason Bardwell, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Feb 27, 2014 @ 01:19pm EST

 

This weekend will have a limited Premiership schedule, which of course you will be able to read here tomorrow. For today though I would like to focus on Sundays game and the Final of the first significant trophy of the English soccer calender, the Capital One Cup.

HISTORY

First I would like to give you a little history on this particular cup competition, being contested between Manchester City and Sunderland. The competition is newer than the more famous FA Cup and, although has had many sponsors over the years, is broadly known as teh League Cup. The reason it is known as the League Cup is primarily because, unlike the FA Cup, only teams from the Premiership and the three tiers below. That means entry is given to 92 clubs rather than the many hundreds who enter the FA Cup at various stages.

Also, unlike the FA Cup, the prize for winners and runners up are not as prestigious. The winners in this competition are likely to win no more than $160,000 and entry into the UEFA Europa League and the runners up getting half that figure and no European qualification. Compare that to the FA Cup where the prize money for both teams is vastly superior, into the millions, and the winners progressing into the Europa League. There is a possibility the runners up can also get into Europe if the winning side has already qualified to the Champions League via their League position. So as a result of these facts some clubs tend to play weakened sides in the early stages of this competition with a view to competing in the others available.

MANCHESTER CITY

So to Manchester City, who are the favorites to lift the trophy. If Vincent Kompany was to walk up the steps at Wembley Stadium on Sunday and lift the trophy it would be the first time a City Captain has had his hands on this particular silverware since 1976. In fact on that day City faced off against Sunderlands big rivals, Newcastle getting the win after a famous Dennis Tueart overhead kick. Mike Doyle was the City Captain that day and plans are underway to chant his name on the 4th minute of Sundays game. Doyle passed away in June 2011 from Liver failure, so listen out for that.

The only other time this club won the trophy was back in 1970 when City again won 2-1 with that man Mike Doyle scoring the winners opening goal to level the scores before Glyn Pardoe put in the winner. That day the Captain walking the steps for City was Tony Book, the Manager of the side in 1976.

In between these two victories were also an unsuccessful trip in 1974 when Wolverhampton Wanderers beat City. That defeat comes exactly 40 years to the day of this Sundays Final. A good omen for Sunderland in the Final?

SUNDERLAND

If Sunderland were to win the trophy on Sunday it will be the first time in their history to lift it. Their only visit to the Final came in 1985, when it was known as the Milk Cup, against Norwich City. Although they scored the only goal of the game, it was into their own net and later missed a penalty.

It was a weird final when Gordon Chisholm defelected a Asa Hartford shot (ex Manchester City, and winner in the 1976 game) past his keeper. Both teams ended the season getting relegated from the top division but Norwich didn't get to play in Europe. The Heysel Stadium Disaster meant that UEFA banned all English sides from participating in such competitions for numerous years. Now every time the two sides meet they contest a 'Friendship Trophy'.

SUNDAYS GAME

Head to head Manchester City have the better overall history with a total of 62 wins compared to Sunderlands 50 wins in the 137 matches contested (25 tied games). In the last few seasons though Sunderland have become somewhat of a bogie team for City. Three wins and one draw in the last five League games will also give Sunderland confidence going into this match, although none of those wins were away from the Stadium Of Light.

It should certainly be a good game though with the Sunderland boss, Gus Poyet, willing to play an attacking game, just as they did against United in the Semi Final. You also have the story of Adam Johnson who was signed, and then overlooked, by former City boss Roberto Mancini possibly lining up for Sunderland against his old side.

For City boss, Manuel Pellegrini, the good news is that Sergio Aguero should be back in contention and the City frontline desperately needs his movement off the ball to worry the Sunderland defence.

AMERICAN INTEREST

For the American audience Jozy Altidore may also be in the Sunderland lineup. Although Brad Friedel appeared for Aston Villa in the 2010 Final they lost, although he had previously won it eight years earlier while playing for Blackburn. Tim Howard was on the bench as Manchester United cruised to a 4-0 victory over Wigan in 2006. Kasey Keller was in goal for the losing side in 1999 as Leicester City fell to Spurs by a single goal but too had already won it previously, in 1997. Playing for Sheffield Wednesday at the time Harkes opened the scoring for Wednesday in 1993 before Arsenal equalized through Paul Merson and then won it through Steve Morrow. Harkes had played in the Final two years earlier and, although he didn't score, was on the winning side. Although the referee that day was a man named Ray Lewis, not sure if it's the ex Baltimore Raven! Roy Wegerle started in the losing side in the 1989 Final and was the first American to compete in the Finals history.

So things to look out for. If Altidore scores Sunday then he will be the first American to do so for over two decades, since John Harkes in 1993. If he doesn't score, but his side lifts the trophy then he will be the first American to do that since 2002 and the first American outfield player since John Harkes in 1991. Now if he scores and Sunderland win, well then, he will be the first American to do that in the 54 years of the competition.

So if you are up early Sunday then make sure you tune into this game in time for the 9am ET kick off.


 

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