Head-to-head: Bradford City v Swansea City
The Bantams and the Swans have met 54 times before – however, the Capital One Cup Final will be the first time the two teams have clashed in a cup fixture. Interestingly, Bradford have won 20 of these previous meetings and Swansea have also been victorious in 20, with 14 draws. The sides first met in 1926 where Bradford prospered 3-1, and most recently locked horns in in a League One clash in 2007, where a 2-2 draw saw the spoils shared. The impending Capital One Cup final will see the record tip in one sides favour – but which will depend on who can handle the pressure and claim a historic piece of silverware.
Swansea City will come into the final full of confidence as they sit 7th in the Premier League table ahead of the likes of Liverpool, Stoke and early-season pace-setters West Brom. The Swans have only lost one league game in their last nine, with their last league clash seeing them romp to a 4-1 thrashing of Queens Park Rangers. In this last fixture, star striker Michu bagged a brace and the Spaniard is returning to his form of earlier in the season. He sits on 16 goals for the Swans across all competitions, and his performance will prove a vital factor in the final. The midfield force of Wayne Routledge, Nathan Dyer and Pablo Hernandez have proven dangerous over recent months and will certainly put the Bradford midfield to the test. Their incisive passing and position-switching sees the ball move at pace, and Swansea have relied on this swift build-up play to break down opponents and find openings. Defender Chico Flores is set to miss the Capital One Cup final with an ankle injury, but reliable centre-back Ashley Williams will feature, providing the Swans with vigour and steel at the back.
Bradford City are not sharing the same confidence levels as their League Cup final rivals, as the Bantams have lost three league games in their last five. However, their league form seems to go out of the window when the Capital One Cup is concerned, as Bradford have claimed three Premier League scalps already this campaign, beating Wigan and Arsenal on penalties and claiming a semi-final victory over Aston Villa. Bradford sit comfortably in 10th in the League Two table and will feel they can turn their focus to the final clash at Wembley without fear of a relegation battle. The form of Nakhi Wells has gone through the roof this season, as he sits on 18 goals and is the highest goalscorer at Bradford. He has proven his worth as a pacey, skilful forward with experience beyond his years. Striker James Hanson has shown inspired form this season, bagging crucial goals throughout the Capital One Cup stages. His goal at Villa Park put the tie beyond their Premier League hosts and saw the Bantams reach their first domestic cup final since 1911. Goalkeeper Matt Duke has also proved his worth with a series of fine performances, in particular, his exploits against Arsenal at Valley Parade were top-class, rounded off by a wonderful double save against Santi Cazorla in the dying minutes. Bradford have proven their prowess in a penalty shoot-out situation, knocking out both Wigan and Arsenal from the spot, and Swansea will be eager to avoid taking on the Bantams in a do-or-die lottery.
With the historic final at Wembley ever approaching, fans and neutrals alike can look forward to a unique cup final. Will Swansea win their first domestic cup in their 100-year existence? Will Bradford be the first ever League Two team to enter European competition after lifting the Capital One Cup trophy? All will be revealed in what promises to be a thoroughly entertaining and enthralling Capital One Cup Final.