Sunday, 24 February 2013

Capital One Cup Final Preview: Bradford City v Swansea City

The first final of the season has arrived and what a game we are in for. League Two side Bradford City play Swansea City from the Premier League in a must watch encounter. For both teams it is the biggest game in the club's history which sees both teams play each other for the first time in a cup competition. The last four encounters between the clubs have all come in League One with three of them being draws with one Swansea win. The winners of the final will earn a place in the Europa League however it has already been said that if Bradford are to win the final, they will turn down the opportunity to play in Europe next season.

Bradford City:
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It is the stuff of fairytales. Bradford City of League Two have had an incredible run in this years competition. In getting to Wembley they beat Wigan Athletic and Arsenal in a penalty shoot outs, before dumping Aston Villa out over two legs in the semi finals. If they are to produce yet another Premier League scalp, then it may have to be in extra time or in a penalty shootout. Phil Parkinson's side have won their last nine penalty shoot outs and will be strong favourites if the game is to go the distance. Their incredible run has seen £1million generated for the club and the game and experience will sure to be a great day for the club and fans. Set pieces will be key on the day having scored three of their four goals against Villa from corners and free kicks. Frontman James Hanson caused all sorts of problems for Villa and again on his day could cause havoc for the Swansea back line. They may have shown grit and desire in the previous rounds but the main question is whether the occasion and being at Wembley will overwhelm them.

Swansea City:
In his first season as Swansea boss, Michael Laudrup has the chance to create history at the Welsh club. His side will go into the game as strong favourites and will have to put in a professional performance to avoid any other result. Only in their second season in the top flight, Swansea have come a long way in a short time and again have shown this season they are now an established Premier League side. Swansea's last appearance at Wembley came in 2011 when they beat Reading 4-2 in the Championship play-off final. That victory came under former manager Brendan Rogers whose new club Liverpool was one of the sides Swansea beat to reach the Capital One Cup final. Striker and main man Michu has undeniably been the star for them this season and for £2million right now is the bargain of the season.

Match Prediction:
On their day, a win for Bradford is of course very possible. We saw last year Cardiff run eventual winners Liverpool to the end. However a professional display and no complacency from Swansea will see them go back to Wales as winners of the competition. Everyone other than Swansea fans will be routing for Bradford City to cause an upset and what a story it will be for them if it happens. However I can't see past a Swansea win with the occasion possibly being too much for Bradford.

Prediction: Bradford 1-3 Swansea City

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