Arsenal, Everton, Liverpool, Spurs or Sunderland: Who will win the Capital One Cup this year?
Before the season started I asked a number of our writers and esteemed guests for their views on whose name would be etched on to this season’s Capital One Cup. As you would expect a lot of the usual culprits came up – Chelsea, City and Spurs - but this competition has thrown up a few shocks in the past – remember Birmingham? – and there is a feeling that we could have a different name on the trophy this season also.
Brendan Rodgers’s Liverpool start their defence of the trophy in the next round, along with the other Premier League sides in European action, giving the likes of Crawley, Doncaster, Plymouth and Preston the chance of landing one of the big guns.
But who will win the competition? Here is what our experts said.
Blackburn Rovers fan Terry Kennedy, who sees his side visit MK Dons on Tuesday, thinks former Dons boss Roberto Di Matteo will get his hands on another trophy at Chelsea, a view echoed by Sunderland fan Tony Ratton.
Bolton supporter Dave Blackburn, who sees his men take on Crawley away, believes Tottenham will have cause for a double celebration in the final as he has a feeling AVB’s men will beat north London rivals Arsenal in the final.
Manchester City fan Callum Rothwell also thinks Spurs have their name on the cup, although he didn’t go as far as to say who they would beat in the final, as does Squarefootball’s Newcastle United reporter and fantasy football expert Greg Hall and Chelsea fan Joe Tyler.
Aston Villa fan Christian Dougherty, whose team have won the cup five times and were beaten finalists in 2010, said it’s a difficult call but he has a sneaking suspicion that Martin O’Neill’s Sunderland could be the team to beat. That is a view shared by our Sunderland reporter Sarshar Hosseinnia, although he freely admits that he is biased. The Black Cats have only reached the final of this competition once, losing to Norwich City 1-0 in 1985. Can Martin O’Neill bring the cup back to Wearside?
Queens Park Rangers won the very first final of this competition to be held at Wembley in 1967. They won the cup as third division champions, coming back from two down to beat West Brom 3-2. It remains their only cup triumph, but Celtic fan Jim Barry thinks Mark Hughes will be able to change that this season.
Squarefootball’s Manchester United reporter Alex Richert fears their city rivals will walk away with their third trophy in as many years, a view shared by Squarefootball’s Hugh Larkin.
Squarefootball’s Everton reporter Barry Gregory obviously has faith in his team as he believes David Moyes will be winning the cup this season. The Toffees have never won the League Cup, ending up as beaten finalists on two occasions in 1977 and 1984. Could this be their year?
Birmingham City fan Steve Coulter was obviously unwell when he submitted his predictions as he thought those across the city, Villa, would win the cup. The Villains do tend to do well in this competition. They are only second behind Liverpool in League Cup final wins. However, Paul Lambert’s men haven’t enjoyed the best of starts to the season so far and Tranmere at home could be a tricky one for them.
West Brom fan Andy Wakeman watched his side put three past Liverpool on the opening day of the season but he feels that the Reds will be able to retain their trophy under Brendan Rodgers.
Personally I have a funny feeling that Arsenal could be about to end their trophy drought. They may have played out two goalless draws so far this season but I believe Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud and Walcott will start to gel before too long.
Calling all football fans: Who do you think will win the Carling Cup this season? Can Liverpool win it to extend their final triumphs to nine? Can Andre Villas-Boas get Spurs back in amongst the trophies? What about Chelsea, Manchester City or Manchester United? Could we get a new name on the trophy? How important is the competition to you and your team? Whatever your views, we’d love to hear from you.