English League Cup Previews, Predictions & Betting Tips

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English League Cup

The English League Cup is an annual knockout football competition in English domestic football. The English League Cup is open to all 92 clubs in the top four levels of the English football league system – the English Premier League, The Championship, League One and League Two.

Organised by the English Football League (EFL), the competition was rebranded as the EFL Cup from the 2016–17 season onwards. The tournament is currently known as the Carabao Cup for sponsorship reasons.

The competition was first held in 1960–61 as the Football League Cup. It was introduced as a reaction to the growing popularity of European football and to also apply power over the FA.

The English League Cup took advantage of the roll-out of floodlights at many English football stadiums, which allowed the matches to be played midweek in the evening. The EFL Cup concludes in February, before the other two top-tier domestic football competitions in England - the Premier League and FA Cup - end in May.

The tournament is played over seven single leg rounds except the semi-finals. The final is held at Wembley Stadium. Clubs are seeded in the early rounds with higher ranked teams entering in the later rounds.  The winners of the English League Cup qualify for a place in the UEFA Europa League, unless the winner qualifies for Europe through their Premier League position.

In this case, the place in the UEFA Europa League goes to the highest-placed Premier League team not already qualified for European competition. Like the FA Cup, there are often ‘giant killings’ where clubs in the lower divisions defeat well established Premier League clubs. 

Some examples are Fourth Division side Chester knocking league champions Leeds United out 3–0 in the 1974–75 quarter-finals. The 1966–67 final saw Division Three side Queens Park Rangers defeat West Bromwich Albion 3-2 in the first League Cup Final at Wembley Stadium.

In 1968–69, Third Division club Swindon Town beat Arsenal 3-1 after extra time in the final to win the trophy. Manchester United have been the ‘giants’ killed in the tournament on numerous occasions. In 1995–96 the Red Devils were beaten 3–0 at home by York City in the second round before going out 4–3 on aggregate.

Manchester United were knocked out by Southend United in 2006–07 and Coventry City in 2007–08. In 2014–15, United lost 4–0 in the second round against third-tier club MK Dons.

In the 2012–13 League Cup, League Two club Bradford City knocked out Premier League sides Wigan, Arsenal and Aston Villa to reach the final. Swansea City became the first team from outside England to win the League Cup in 2013. 

Liverpool have won the most English League Cups with eight trophies. Manchester United, Aston Villa, Chelsea and Manchester City have all won the tournament five times, with Tottenham Hotspur and Nottingham Forest winning four each.

Liverpool’s Ian Rush has the most individual tournament wins with five. Rush shares the highest career goalscorer in the English League Cup Geoff Hurst who both scored 49 goals each. The highest goalscorer in the competition in a single season is Tottenham Hotspur’s Clive Allen with 12 goals in 1986–87.

The current holders are Manchester City who beat Arsenal 3–0 in the 2018 final. Goals to Sergio Agüero, Vincent Kompany and David Silva gave Pep Guardiola’s side a comfortable victory at Wembley.

Recent English League Cup Winners & Runners-Up


2017-18Manchester CityArsenal
2016-17Manchester UnitedSouthampton
2015-16Manchester CityLiverpool
2014-15ChelseaTottenham Hotspur
2013-14Manchester CitySunderland
2012-13Swansea CityBradford City
2011-12LiverpoolCardiff City
2010-11Birmingham CityArsenal
2009-10Manchester UnitedAston Villa
2008-09Manchester UnitedTottenham Hotspur

Our EFL Cup football tips include our best bet, both teams to score (BTTS) tips, English League Cup accumulator tips and EFL Cup futures and outright tips such as tournament winner.

Football Previews, Predictions & Betting Tips