Capital One Cup Final 2015
Hello to all! I'm John Thomas, reporting live at the Wembley Stadium. We're definitely in for a day of good football, with two of the Premier League's giants Liverpool and Arsenal facing each other in the Final of the Capital One Cup. I will be the man bringing you all the action and highlights live throughout the game, and I hope you'll enjoy sitting this one through with me. It's going to be a great afternoon.
Liverpool began the tournament with a convincing win against West Ham United, followed by a win over Tottenham in the Fourth Round. They were handed a relatively easy Quarter Final match against Sheffield Wednesday where they unsurprisingly came out on top. Last but not least, their last obstacle to the Final were rivals Manchester United. The Red Devils were overcame in spectacular fashion, as the Merseyside club came back from a 2-0 deficit to win 5-1 in the second leg.
: Mignolet; Clyne, Sakho, Skrtel, Moreno; Gerrard, Henderson, Sterling; Coutinho, Balotelli, Sturridge
: Jones, Flanagan, Balanta, Lucas, Romero, Lallana, Markovic
Arsenal kicked their way into the Capital One Cup starting with a win over Queens Park Rangers in the Third Round, followed by a relatively tough draw against Manchester City for the Fourth Round - however, City didn't live up to their billing as they were brushed aside easily. The Quarter Final against London rivals Chelsea proved to be the match that made Arsenal fight tooth and nail, as they ended the game on a level score and had to proceed to win on penalties. Leicester put up a great fight in the Semi Final, but victory again went to the Gunners.
: Szczesny; Chambers, Hayden, Subotic, Ormondo-Ottewill; Crowley, Ozil; Cazorla, Wilshere, Sanchez; Welbeck
: Ospina, Debuchy, Koscielny, Chamberlain, Campbell, Podolski, Giroud
Liverpool's lineup offer little to no surprise as they choose to go for their usual back four. Clyne and Moreno are especially brilliant at getting forward, and Arsenal's own full-backs will have to keep their eye on them. Sakho and Skrtel are both solid together and have formed an almost unbeatable partnership at the back this season. Steven Gerrard, the leader, assumes his defensive midfielder role, deputy Jordan Henderson playing further up in the center. Raheem Sterling, who has been ever present in the team, stays at left midfield while Philippe Coutinho will support Daniel Sturridge in his quest to score the goals. Completing the starting eleven is Mario Balotelli playing as a right winger, a position where he has impressed and improved on tremendously.
Arsenal, on the other hand, have sprung some surprises as they choose to go with a few youth team players. Isaac Hayden, tipped to have a bright future at the Emirates, will start alongside fellow youngsters Calum Chambers and Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill. This leaves Neven Subotic, a summer arrival from Dortmund, as the only senior figure in Arsenal's defense. In midfield, Mesut Ozil's unlikely partner in the center of the pitch is youth team player Dan Crowley. The Gunners' front line is one to look out for as they boast the likes of Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez, two wingers who are always on hand to wreak havoc upon their opponents. Jack Wilshere, playing in his number 10 role, is the man who will captain Arsenal today. Last but not least, Arsenal's striker for the Final is Danny Welbeck, who has been awarded a start ahead of usual first-choice Olivier Giroud.
1' - And with that, let's kick on into the game!
13' - GOAL! 0-1 to Arsenal! Fantastic play from Arsenal's forwards! An Arsenal throw-in leads to Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez teaming up to beat the Liverpool defenders, managing to scramble a ball across to Danny Welbeck. His shot is rebounded by Martin Skrtel, but Santi Cazorla gets to it and hits an attempt that flies into the top left corner of the net.
Santi Cazorla scored the opening goal
15' - Arsenal are controlling the game well against a usually possession-hungry Liverpool. Ozil hits a great ball up for Sanchez to get to, but the Chilean's shot is comfortably saved by Simon Mignolet.
24' - Liverpool are beginning to get into the game after a fairly poor first 20 minutes, and Daniel Sturridge is able to force Wojciech Szczesny into action with a great effort from outside the danger area.
26' - GOAL! 1-1! Liverpool prove once again to be deadly with their set pieces, as Jordan Henderson receives the ball from a well-taken Steven Gerrard corner, and smashes it easily into the net with his strong foot. Amazing finish.
Jordan Henderson celebrates his equaliser for Liverpool
32' - A cross from Raheem Sterling finds Mario Balotelli, but he isn't able to get a clean shot at goal as the ball is blocked and cleared by Isaac Hayden.
33' - Liverpool remain on the offensive, Sterling finding Coutinho with a pinpoint pass. The Reds' attacking midfielder, finding himself with plenty of space, hits a low effort but is denied by Szczesny.
34' - Arsenal go on the counter attack, as their defenders clear the ball toward Sanchez, who races down the left wing and easily dances past Alberto Moreno with a demonstration of skill. Unfortunately, he is stopped by Steven Gerrard, who comes flying in with a tackle to regain possession for his side.
37' - GOAL! 2-1! Philippe Coutinho played a perfect pass for Mario Balotelli, releasing the Italian as he chases the prize, completely getting rid of his marker, Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill being completely unable to keep up with him. A great strike from Super Mario easily beats Szczesny to put Liverpool in the lead.
Balotelli gestures happily as his goal puts his side ahead
39' - Liverpool are playing with so much confidence at the moment and it's looking dire for Arsenal. They could have so easily made it 3-1, as Balotelli gets his head to a cross from Sterling, but only managing to rattle the crossbar.
40' - Arsenal get a rare chance at leveling as Danny Welbeck is presented with a golden opportunity after getting to a Cazorla free kick, but he completely blotches it, his shot going completely out wide for a goal kick.
45' - HT: Liverpool 2-1 Arsenal. It's looking good for Liverpool after a slow start to the match, and if they play as well as they've been playing, there is no doubt that they could go home with their first trophy of the season.
45' - We kick off the second half here at Wembley Stadium, with Liverpool currently leading against Arsenal 2-1.
56' - Arsenal make their first change of the day, bringing in Laurent Koscielny for Isaac Hayden, who has not managed to do much in silencing Liverpool's attackers today.
59' - PENALTY FOR LIVERPOOL! Jack Wilshere brings down Nathaniel Clyne inside the box, and the referee immediately points to the spot!
60' - GOAL! 3-1! Steven Gerrard coolly slots away his penalty, and Arsenal are in a real mess.
No problem for Steven Gerrard who easily scores his penalty to make it 3-1
61' - With the game almost disappearing from them, Arsenal decide to take out another youth player, as Dan Crowley comes off to be replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
66' - Welbeck hits a long ball up to Sanchez, who does well to beat Moreno and latch onto it, but Skrtel gets a foot in to deny his effort at goal.
74' - Arsenal bring on Lukas Podolski to replace Sanchez, who has been suffering against Liverpool's defenders the entire game. Liverpool themselves also bring on two players, with Eder Alvarez Balanta coming in for Moreno and Gerrard being substituted for Lucas Romero.
Alexis Sanchez had a torrid time against Liverpool's defenders
85' - The action seems to have died now by now with Liverpool content to see out the win and put their men behind to frustrate Arsenal, who is unable to break through for goalscoring chances.
89' - Balanta manages a cross into the box, and Balotelli rises highest, but once again, he cannot hit the back of the net as his header clips the bar and goes over.
90' - FT: Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal. Liverpool bring home their 9th League Cup title, against a disappointing Arsenal team who failed to do much to challenge the current league leaders. Wonderful display from Brendan Rodgers' men, there is really no one else that deserves the trophy more than Liverpool.
Liverpool have now won the League Cup a record number of 9 times
Player Ratings - Liverpool
- 6. Didn't need to do much as Arsenal were repeatedly unable to get bodies up front, could have reacted a little quicker to Cazorla's goal but didn't make any major mistakes.
- 7. Performed adequately at right-back against Cazorla, made threatening runs forward that forced the opposition to keep their eyes on him.
- 7. Played well and stopped many of Arsenal's attempts.
- 7. Like his fellow central defender, managed to break up plenty of Arsenal's attacking play and had a good time at the back.
- 6. Didn't do well against Sanchez but was backed up by his fellow defenders and thus didn't need to.
- 8. Magnificent display from a magnificent captain, was a nightmare for Wilshere to handle. Scored a great penalty to kill off the game.
- 8. Typical performance from the midfield general. Easily outplayed Ozil and was responsible for the equaliser.
- 7. Quiet throughout the game compared to his teammates but did manage to get a few great crosses in.
- 8. Managed to make some very good goalscoring opportunities for himself, looked like a natural on the right wing. Scored the second goal.
- 9. Bossed his way through Arsenal's players countless times during the game and was a thorn in their side for the entirety of 90 minutes. Classy.
- 6. Didn't have a very lively game and had a bad time in front of goal, but overall played alright.
Eder Alvarez Balanta
- 7. Came on for Moreno in the 74th minute. Showed that he could play as well at left-back as he does at center-back, made some nice crosses for his forwards to get to.
- 6. Came on for Gerrard in the 74th minute. Had a quiet few minutes as his side saw out the win.
- N/A. Came on for Sturridge in the 81st minute. Didn't have much time to influence the game.
Player Ratings - Arsenal
- 7. Had to be at his best against the likes of Coutinho and Balotelli, and did what he could. Wasn't at fault for any of Liverpool's goals.
- 6. Was average, didn't make many mistakes but didn't do much either.
- 6. Average as well, tried his best but couldn't stop Liverpool without a better defending partner and understandably so.
- 5. Failed to repay his manager's faith in him and had a poor game.
- 5. With his contract running out at the end of the season, this game hasn't done anything to prove he deserves a new one.
- 5. Was another youth team player that played poorly. Looked extremely small against Henderson.
- 6. Had a normal game but normal wasn't enough. Bossed around by Henderson in midfield.
- 4. Given the armband for such an important game but messed it up for his own team, being at fault for the penalty that ultimately destroyed any hope of a comeback.
- 8. The best player on the pitch for Arsenal, Cazorla scored the opening goal and was a more dangerous threat to Liverpool than any of his other teammates with his skill and ability.
- 7. Failed to bag any goals but still looked solid against an impregnable Liverpool back four.
- 5. Came on for Hayden in the 56th minute. Intended to beef up the defense but failed to do much better than the teenager he replaced.
- 6. Came on for Crowley in the 61st minute. Like Koscielny, was probably called up to power the Gunners' midfield but could not find any space for himself and didn't get the ball too many times.
- 6. Came on for Sanchez in the 74th minute. At a time when Arsenal were already looking lifeless, could not do anything to help as his side succumbed to a loss.