Bradford City’s impressive run in this season’s Capital One Cup is symbolic of the competition’s recent revival in its new guise.
Despite its less than stellar name, The Capital One Cup is proving to be full of surprises this season.
There have been some barely believable comebacks – people will be asking “where were you when Arsenal won 7-5 at Reading?” in years to come.
The cup has been centre stage for crazy scorelines such as the aforementioned 7-5 victory to Arsenal which saw the Gunners concede four goals in twenty minutes before staging a second half and extra time fightback.
Like the FA Cup the stage is set for the smaller teams to challenge the big clubs for a taste of silverware and this year one side is surprising everybody.
Step forward Bradford City.
The Division Two side have taken the competition by storm, pulling off a shock victory against Premier League pedigree Arsenal, knocking the Gunners out on penalties – a nail-biting finish to a fraught match.
The Gunners were outclassed and outplayed by Bradford who ran a relatively strong midfield ragged taking the lead early and took the sting out of the opposition.
The scenes of jubilation from the Bradford bench were undeniable but most doubted that the underdogs could pull off another giant slaying.
However Bradford City are proving all the naysayers wrong and the side have now astonishingly beaten more Premier league sides than QPR and Reading this season. This evening they thumped Aston Villa 3-1, taking them one step closer to Wembley.
Villa have been in freefall since a disastrous 8-0 trouncing at Stamford Bridge at the hands of a Chelsea team who tore apart Lambert’s side.
Unfortunately for the Villains the result was not a one-off – they shipped a further seven goals in home defeats to Tottenham and Wigan. Things have gone from bad to worse for the Premier League side, who sit only a point away from the drop zone and have an abysmal goal difference of minus twenty four.
The fixture against Bradford no doubt was Aston Villa’s moment of redemption, to assert themselves as a Premier League side against a lower league side that cost just £7,500 to put together.
However Villa’s confidence all but vanished after Bradford’s first goal courtesy of Nakhi Wells, a Bermuda international who has been monitored by several Championship sides.
Bradford went onto score two more impressive goals, and a late consolation goal from Weimann in the 82nd minute was not enough for Villa to stage an almighty comeback.
The defeat at Bradford will sting even more for Lambert’s men than recent losses against Wigan and Chelsea. Whilst they were always travelling to Stamford Bridge as considerable underdogs, on paper this fixture against Bradford should have finished a little differently.
The result against Villa put Bradford a little closer to a fairytale ending and Villa ever closer to the edge of footballing ruin.
Only time will tell what 2013 holds in store for these two sides, but no doubt football fans across the country will be watching future Capital One Cup fixtures with baited breath.
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