Dec 19, 2012, 6:30 PM EST
It’s the third of three competitions in England, but when it gets down to the semifinals, the League Cup takes on a special feel. The two legs, home and away, give the round a feeling unique to English soccer. And of course, the winners get a trip to Wembley for a chance at silverware and a place in Europe.
Today, Chelsea became the fourth League Cup semifinalists, with Aston Villa, Swansea City, and League Two’s Bradford City having confirmed their places last week.
At Elland Road, the Blues gave up the first goal to Luciano Becchio and Leeds United before five goals by five different players saw Chelsea to a 5-1 victory.
The Blues move on face Michael Laudrup’s Swansea City in what could prove a dangerous tie. Swans sit 10th in the Premier League in large part due to the league’s joint-top scorer, Michu (12 goals). As the Blues showed in Japan (and after 45 minutes today), they remain vulnerable, though over 180 minutes, that vulnerability may ned to reach new levels to be ousted by Swansea.
In the other half of the draw, Aston Villa’s recent resurgence (unbeaten since Nov. 17) has landed them a matchup with Bradford City. The fourth-tier club currently sit fifth in League Two thanks in large part to Bermuda attacker Nahki Wells’ 12 goals.
Having already seen off Arsenal, the Bantams are unlikely to give Villa the easy time their stature suggests, even if Paul Lambert’s side will be heavily favored.
At this point, this competition is Chelsea’s to lose. Even with their newfound bipolarity, they should be able to claim a trophy for Rafa.
Dec 19, 2014, 11:20 PM EST
Harry Redknapp believes he could be Ravel Morrison’s “last chance” to prove he is ready to play top-flight football.
Dec 19, 2014, 10:25 PM EST
Since returning from injury, the England international has been key to United’s six-game win streak.
Dec 19, 2014, 9:40 PM EST
Rog and Davo are joined by Downton Abbey’s Laura Carmichael, who discusses her short stint selling hot dogs at St. Mary’s and the rivalry between Southampton and Portsmouth.
Dec 19, 2014, 8:50 PM EST
With 45 points through 17 matches, Bayern Munich is having the best season in Bundesliga history.
Dec 19, 2014, 8:00 PM EST
The opening weekend of MLS play features Orlando City SC and New York City FC facing off in a battle of expansion teams.
Dec 19, 2014, 7:10 PM EST
Newcastle and Sunderland may be bitter rivals, but their managers are telling supporters to behave on Sunday.
Dec 19, 2014, 6:20 PM EST
The Blues’ boss said his Belgian playmaker can become a Chelsea legend, but must win titles first.
Dec 19, 2014, 5:30 PM EST
England’s number one keeper finally put pen to paper with a new deal that will keep him at the Etihad until 2019.
Dec 19, 2014, 4:40 PM EST
The Leicester City boss was also fined $15,000 by the FA following his altercation with a fan.
Dec 19, 2014, 3:55 PM EST
CR7 and Howard, it seems, are among the few blessed with tons of talent and even more desire to work.
Dec 19, 2014, 3:20 PM EST
In the Premier League, Brad Guzan is tasked with keeping Manchester United off the scoreboard.
Dec 19, 2014, 2:05 PM EST
Orlando City founder and president Phil Rawlins described Shea as a big addition to the squad.
Dec 19, 2014, 1:43 PM EST
Altidore’s production for his country and in the Eredivisie prove he’s a much better player than his horrible spell at Sunderland.
Dec 19, 2014, 12:52 PM EST
According to The Daily Express, Man Utd’s man if Mats Hummels won’t come over from Borussia Dortmund is Nicolas Otamendi of Valencia.
Dec 19, 2014, 12:00 PM EST
Where and how to watch all the PL games during Week 17.
Dec 19, 2014, 11:38 AM EST
“He had to make a step back in his recovery,” said Southampton boss Ronald Koeman.
Dec 19, 2014, 10:50 AM EST
Villa Park hasn’t been a fortress for the Villans, and that’s underlined when bigger teams visit.
Dec 19, 2014, 10:10 AM EST
Sporting also added Hungarian striker Kristian Nemeth and Haitian mid James Marcellin.
Dec 19, 2014, 10:02 AM EST
Here’s how PST’s lead writer and editor sees things panning out this weekend.
Dec 19, 2014, 9:06 AM EST
Mangala on visitors to the Etihad: “Normally, teams that are coming here play more defensively.”
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