Ranked! The 5 best League Cup finals ever

Cup finals are always interesting. A format which gives the underdog a chance to emerge from the shadows and fashion an upset. A good old fashioned knock out format based competitions that has provided countless memories across multiple generations. With crucial last minute goals, goal line clearances and saves, tightly contested games running over 120 minutes only to be decided by a few spot kicks, fierce derby and new born rivalries from tears to cheers, the cup magic has it all.

5. Chelsea 3-2 Liverpool, 2005

4. Birmingham 2-1 Arsenal, 2011

3. Swindon 3-1 Arsenal, 1969

2. Manchester City 2-1 Newcastle, 1976

1. QPR 3-2 West Brom, 1967

5. Chelsea 3-2 Liverpool, 2005

CARDIFF, United Kingdom: Chelsea's captain John Terry holds up the Carling Cup trophy with his teammates after defeating Liverpool in the Carling Cup Final football match at the Millennium Dome in Cardiff, Wales, 27 February, 2005. Chelsea won 3-2 in extra time. AFP PHOTO/REBECCA NADEN NO TELCOS, WEBSITES SUBJECT TO SUBCRIPTION OF LICENCE WITH FAPL AT WWW.FAPLWEB.COM (Photo credit should read REBECCA NADEN/AFP via Getty Images)
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Jose Mourinho's tryst with the League Cup started in 2005, as he won his Chelsea trophy as manager against a Liverpool side full of character. However, things didn't start quite as the Portuguese would have imagined, with John Arne Riise putting Liverpool ahead in a blink a an eye after kick off.

As Chelsea chased an equalizer, Steven Gerrard suffered heartbreak as he scored an own goal to level the scores. The game went into extra-time - though not before Mourinho ended up falling back to his habit of winding up the opposition and sprinted down the touchline and told Liverpool fans to be quiet through a 'shush' gesture. As everyone would have rightly guessed so, he received a red card, but that didn't bog them down as Didier Drogba and Mateja Kezman stepped up in extra-time to hand Chelsea the win.

Antonio Nunez – remember him? – got a consolation for Liverpool.

4. Birmingham 2-1 Arsenal, 2011

Birmingham City's Obafemi Martins (2ndR) celebrates with teammates after scoring during the Carling Cup final football match between Arsenal and Birmingham at the Wembley Stadium in London on February 27, 2011. AFP PHOTO/GLYN KIRKFOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY Additional licence required for any commercial/promotional use or use on TV or internet (except identical online version of newspaper) of Premier League/Football League photos. Tel DataCo +44 207 2981656. Do not alter/modify photo. (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)
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Birmingham were the relegation threatened underdogs. A Samir Nasri and Van Persie led Gunners team were the wolves that were on the cusp of hunting down a cup and quench their thirst for a trophy had not been able to achieve for 6 years.

It did not certainly go the way Arsenal would have hoped that day. However, as the towering Nikola Zigic nodded Birmingham in front. It took just ten minutes for Van Persie to get back on level terms but an inspired performance from Ben Foster, the cycling GK ensured the Dutchman wouldn't get to celebrate over the rest of the game.

Disaster then struck for Arsenal, as FIFA god Obafemi Martins pounced onto a loose ball that Laurent Koscielny and Wojciech Szczesny failed to steer away from danger within the box. The Nigerian made no mistake in finding the back of the net from just yards out, sending Blues fans into pandemonium. 

Birmingham were relegated just three months later, but their first trophy since 1963 was a major sweetener to their overall bittersweet campaign.

3. Swindon 3-1 Arsenal, 1969

Swindon's Rod Thomas tackles Arsenal's Bobby Gould in the 1969 League Cup final
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In a game that would go on to be a core memory young Nick Hornby for life, just not a pleasant one Swindon staged an upset Arsenal with another shock result just two years after third-tier QPR had humiliated top-flight West Brom.

Roger Smart sprang onto a loose back pass to put the underdogs in front and they defended for their lives to defend the lead but Bobby Gould found an equalizer with four minutes remaining.

The game was calling for a hero to emerge else it would have gone to Penalties and Don Rogers stepped up for Swindon, scoring twice to complete an afternoon beyond their fans’ wildest dreams. Arsenal went on to blame the flu and a heavy pitch, but it was dismissed as excuses that even fictional comedy writers would be proud of.

 2. Manchester City 2-1 Newcastle, 1976

Manchester City's Dennis Tueart scores the winning goal for City in the 1976 League Cup final with a spectacular overhead kick
Dennis Tueart (Center) Credit: Getty Images

Forever immortalized for Dennis Tueart’s stunning overhead-kick winner, the '76 final featured two sides who desperately wanted to end their dry run of  trophies.

Peter Barnes put City ahead in the first half, before Alan Gowling equalled it out. And so it was up to Tueart, a boyhood Toons fan, to pull a rabbit out of the hat with a memorable strike.

Tony Book became the first person to win the trophy as both player and manager, while they did not get the joy of lifting another one up until  2011.

1. QPR 3-2 West Brom, 1967

Queens Park Rangers players celebrate with the League Cup with their captain Mike Keen
Credits - Getty Images

The 1967 League Cup final was to be remembered by future generations and rightly so.

Right of the bat, it was the first to be hosted at Wembley since the competition's inception in 1960. While on the other hand, it also decided to do away with the two-legged format that did little to increase the spectacle. Most importantly, though the third-tier side QPR trumped as the winners, basking in their underdog status on the iconic turf of the national stadium.

They really wanted to give the spectators Absolute Cinema and went about their business in the most dramatic of fashions. West Brom blazed to a two-goal lead by half-time thanks to Clive Clark’s double, but Roger Morgan reduced the deficit. It got even better for QPR as Rodney Marsh and the suitably named Mike Lazarus netted to complete a remarkable fightback, and the journalists ended up having a field day.

Cover Credits - Getty Images

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