Capital One Cup 2015: Road to Wembley
It has been an unbelievable tournament for David Beckham
's Aston Villa side as they have now found themselves in the Final and a fixture against Manchester United at the magnificent Wembley Stadium. The Lions relied on both luck and skill to get this far, but how exactly did they fare in all their Capital One Cup matches?
Villa entered the competition at the Second Round and made a good start to the tournament as they crushed Preston 4-1 courtesy of goals from Fabian Delph, Mattia Destro and Wellington Nem. Despite putting up a good fight, unlike Villa, Preston failed to take their chances and ended up succumbing to their Premier League opponents. Delph had a field day assisting and scoring and it would not be surprising if he names Preston as his favorite opponents.
The Third Round was not as good a match for the Villans as they narrowly beat West Bromwich 2-1 with a stroke of luck after Will Hughes and Mattia Destro scored to cancel out Pavel Pogrebnyak's opener. Youth player Alan Griffiths was handed his chance in this match and the 16-year-old proved his worth guarding the goal along with Ron Vlaar.
Villa faced league giants Tottenham next in the Fourth Round. Having a tough time against the Londoners, Frank Lampard eventually helped his side prevail with a brilliant shot from 30 yards. Lady Luck seemed to be smiling on the Villa squad as Tottenham chose not to be at their best, constantly missing sitters despite being the obviously superior side throughout the match.
In the Quarter Finals awaited Brighton, who almost kicked Villa out of the cup after Dedryck Boyata and Lewis Dunk cancelled out Frank Lampard's opener and later Jack Grealish's brilliant effort. Lampard, Nem, Johnson, Vlaar, Toure and finally Grealish scored the penalties to bring Villa through to the Semis. Grealish's brilliant performance was certainly encouraging for both Beckham and the Villa fans.
The first leg of the Semi Final proved to be an easy fixture for Aston Villa as they walked over Burnley 5-2. Darren Bent's return from injury propelled the team to success as he scored 2 goals to put the Clarets in their place.
The heavy loss did not prevent Burnley from putting up a tougher fight in the second leg though, although they still fell to the goals of Doria and Benteke in a 2-1 loss. It all but confirmed a safe passage through to the Final for Aston Villa, on a 7-3 aggregate.
What a remarkable journey to Wembley, but can the sturdy Villans still manage to keep their defensive capabilities and attacking strength against the giants of England and Europe - Manchester United?
22nd February 2015 will indeed be a crucial date for David Beckham and Aston Villa.