Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Capital One Cup: Semi final previews

Having witnessed a busy Christmas period in the football calendar, attention turns to the Capital Once Cup and the semi finals which sees Bradford City within 180 minutes of a Wembley appearance. Their shock penalty shoot out victory over Arsenal in the quarter finals stunned the football world as they embarrassed a full strength Arsenal team. The League Two side will face Aston Villa in the semi finals, whilst in the other semi, Swansea will face Chelsea.

#1 Bradford City v Aston Villa
League Two Bradford City's appearance in the semi finals sees them as the first team from the bottom tier of the Football League to play in the semis since Wycombe Wanderers back in 2006/07. Their penalty shoot out win over Arsenal was their ninth consecutive penalty shoot out victory on the bounce. The first leg will be played at Valley Parade in Bradford where they will look to try and gain an early advantage over their Premier League opponents. Villa will be pleased to have a distraction from the league having lost the last three games conceding 15 goals. Paul Lambert's side had surprisingly beaten Liverpool away from home before losing consecutive games to Chelsea, Spurs and Wigan. They made it to the semis having beaten Lambert's former side Norwich City 4-1 away from home. They have won five league cups, the last victory coming back in 1996.

#2 Swansea City v Chelsea
Chelsea romped to a 5-1 victory in the quarter finals at Leeds and will be strong favourites to make the final at Wembley. Interim boss Rafael Benitez has guided the team to an unbeaten run in December which sees his side sit third in the table. Chelsea will be looking at adding another trophy to their collection after a double triumph last season with FA Cup and Champions League final victories. Striker Fernando Torres has begun to find some old form scoring 14 goals in all competitions so far this season. Opponents Swansea overcame Middlesbrough in the quarter finals and have also beaten Liverpool in the competition too, beating former manager Brendan Rogers' side 3-1 at Anfield. New man at the helm Michael Laudrup has guided the Welsh side to their first cup semi final in the history of the club, having experienced an excellent first few months in his role. New man up top, Michu, has been a brilliant acquisition firing in 14 goals in all competitions so far this season.

The two legs for both games will be played in the week of the 7th January and the 21st January.

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