Five biggest League Cup upsets ahead of 2016/17 third round matches
Robbie Purves | September 20, 2016
The League Cup returns this week, featuring Premier League big boys such as Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool in an intriguing wave of fixtures.
Sometimes maligned by fans, the competition has thrown up some classic giant killing matches. In light of the tournament’s return, Coral writers have picked some of the biggest League Cup upsets…
Notts County 3-0 Tottenham (1994)
Spurs began the season with their ‘famous five’ forward line, featuring Jurgen Klinsmann, Teddy Sheringham, Darren Anderton, Nick Barmby and Ilie Dumitrescu and were finding the net with ease, the problem was, so were their opponents.
County came into the fixture struggling and sacked three managers on their way to being relegated into the third tier, but stunned Ossie Ardiles’ outfit in 1994.
At Meadow Lane, the Magpies put three past the north London club and intensified mounting pressure on Ardiless – he was sacked soon after the upset.
Man Utd 0-3 York City (1995)
The Minstermen shocked the world of football with their embarrassment of eventual Premier League and FA Cup champions Manchester United.
Third-tier York were written off prior to the match-up and had been badly struggling, sitting second-bottom of Division Two, and were coming off the back of five straight defeats after failing to win any of their opening seven league games.
Sir Alex Ferguson included established names such as Ryan Giggs, Brian McClair, Denis Irwin and Gary Pallister alongside David Beckham and Phil Neville.
York’s Paul Barnes bagged a brace and Tony Barras added a third to beat United – the Manchester outfit then failed to overcome the deficit during the second leg.
At Bootham Crescent, the Yorkshire outfit netted a crucial home goal, winning the tie 4-3 on aggregate – despite Sir Alex recalling the first team.
Northampton 4-2 Liverpool on penalties (2010)
Liverpool’s result was one of the club’s most embarrassing defeats and spelled the beginning of the end for Roy Hodgson at Anfield.
At the time, Northampton were in League Two and fell behind after an early opener from Milan Jovanovic. However, the Cobblers bit back with an equaliser and went on to take the lead in extra-time.
Up stepped David N’Gog to level proceedings with his head and forced a penalty shootout. The Merseyside club hadn’t lost a shootout since getting eliminated in the League Cup by Wimbledon in 1993 and history repeated itself.
N’gog’s weak opening penalty set the tone for a poor spot-kick display and saw the Cobblers progress into the fourth round.
Northampton’s EFL Cup opponents Man Utd are experiencing a truly awful run of form, losing their last three outings. Could the Cobblers cause another upset? Coral has the side 9/1 to triumph over the Old Trafford outfit.
Bradford 3-2 Arsenal on penalties (2012)
Arsene Wenger selected a full strength side for the clash at Valley Parade and many expected a rout.
Garry Thompson opened the scoring in the first-half for the Bantams and remained solid throughout the fixture until the 88th minute. Thomas Vermaelen drew Arsenal level and forced extra-time, in which the Gunners were expected to go on win the fixture – but failed to find a second.
The shootout was a masterclasss in how not to remain calm at the penalty spot, with efforts being missed from the get go. Santi Carzola’s shot was saved and Marouane Chamakh hit the post.
League Two Bradford however, kept the Gunners in it, as Ritchie Jones and Stephen Darby failed to find the net. Vermaelen shuttled towards the spot and to take the final pen and needed to convert.
His effort whacked off the woodwork and the Yorkshire outfit went wild. This upset was part of an astonishing run that saw them reach the 2013 final, losing 5-0 to Swansea City at Wembley.
MK Dons 4-0 Man Utd (2014)
Louis van Gaal’s torrid time as United boss started with a huge EFL Cup upset at the hands of League One’s MK Dons. Then 18 years old, Dele Alli produce a sublime performance and a brace from chant favourite Will Grigg in a capitulation of seismic proportions.
This was the first time in 19 years played in the second round of the competition and United were mauled by an energetic and clinical performance from a Dons side two leagues their junior.
The match was played out in front of the club’s record attendance in their 10 year history – 26,969. United selected Saidy Janko and Reece James for their debuts, alongside senior talent like Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck, David De Gea, Jonny Evans, Anderson and Shinji Kagawa. Of the starting XI that faced Dons, only De Gea remains at the club.
Agree with our biggest League Cup upsets? Tell us in the comments below.