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Swansea City vs Bradford City, League Cup Final Preview

For viewers in the United States, this Sunday’s League Cup Final between Swansea City and Bradford City will be televised live on beIN SPORT beginning at 10:55am ET. If your TV provider doesn’t offer beIN SPORT, you can listen to a live radio commentary of the game via


This will be Swansea’s first major cup final in their 100 year history. The Welsh club played at the old Wembley where they won the Football League Trophy (now known as the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy) in 1994 and 2006. The last time the Swans have come close to playing in a major final was 1964 when they got beat in the FA Cup semi-final against Preston. The only other close encounter was the 1930 FA Cup semi-final when they lost against Bolton Wanderers.

Bradford City, 71 places below Swansea in the league, won the FA Cup in 1911 after they defeated Newcastle United. The last time the Bantams were in the Premier League was the 2000-01 season when the finished bottom in the division and were relegated alongside Manchester City and Coventry City. Since then, the club has slid down the league tables. They’re now in eleventh position in League Two.

Bradford is the first fourth-tier team to qualify for the League Cup Final since 1962.


The League Cup Final, officially known as the Capital One Cup, will be an emotional occasion for both clubs. Bradford City will wear embroidered jackets to honor the 56 people who died in the tragic fire at their Valley Parade ground in 1985. Plus, nine-year old cancer survivor Jake Turton will lead out his Bradford side as mascot alongside 12-year-old Ryan Siddall who is alive thanks to his father donating a kidney.

Even the Dalai Lama has blessed Bradford City and has sent them a letter wishing them good luck.

How They Got Here

For Bradford, it’s been a Cinderella story. The club has overcome all odds to reach the final, knocking out clubs such as Arsenal, Aston Villa, Wigan Athletic, Notts County, Watford and Burton Albion along the way to Wembley. Bradford, the penalty kings, defeated Arsenal and Wigan on spot kicks after added extra time.

Swansea, meanwhile, beat Chelsea, Middlesbrough, Liverpool, Barnsley and Crawley Town. The second leg against Chelsea was marred by the infamous Swansea City ball boy incident.

Prize money is not distributed throughout the League Cup process, rather after the competition, with the finalists and semi-finalists rewarded. The winners of the tournament will receive £100,000, with the losers pocketing £50,000. For Bradford both will be more than welcome, however they are a good underdog bet with Ladbrokes at 13/2 to win in normal time.


Readers expecting Swansea to steamroll over Bradford will be mistaken. The Yorkshire club has made it to the final by hard work, not luck. Captain Gary Jones, who played for Swansea for one season in the mid-nineties, is the club’s key player. Jones was man of the match against Arsenal, and played a key role in the club’s 4-3 aggregate win against Aston Villa in the semi-final. Goalkeeper Matt Duke has a solid pair of hands between the posts, while former West Ham United footballer Zavon Hines is a danger on the right wing.

As a Swansea City supporter, I’m not optimistic regarding my team’s chances of winning their first piece of major silverware this Sunday (the winner will qualify for next season’s Europa League competition). Bradford plays a style of football that zeros in on Swansea’s weaknesses. The League Two club prefers a traditional route-one style of football. They’re dangerous in the air and deadly on set pieces. These are all of Swansea’s weaknesses rolled into one.

The only hope for a Swansea win on Sunday will be if the club can keep possession, passing the ball on the pitch and getting around the Bradford midfield and defenders to score. This will be an intriguing match-up between two sides who like to sit back and break on the counter, so expect the first 45 minutes to be a cagey affair where either team is waiting for a breakthrough that may not come.

Either way, Sunday’s match promises to be a wonderful final to watch. You’ve got two Cinderella stories coming together on the pitch. Only one will walk away with the glass slipper.


Located in Yorkshire, Bradford has a population of 293,717. Swansea, located in South Wales, has a smaller population, numbering 238,700 people.

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  1. jtm371

    February 22, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    Swans 3/1 would love to see the minnow win but to big a moment for Swansea and the chance to play in Europe.hope for good match no g johnson it is already a good match.

  2. trickybrkn

    February 22, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    and this game will mark the end of the relevance of the beer/ credit card cup. the winner doesn’t even get the weekly wages of Wayne Rooney… But there is that chance to play Grasshopper in the 3rd qualifying round of the Euro Cup…. hardly worth the risk of injury to a first team player… This game will only be interesting to persons who support the teams.

    • The Gaffer

      February 23, 2013 at 9:22 am

      For a club like Swansea or Bradford, playing in a European competition is a massive achievement. Plus, it’s a rare chance for either club to win a piece of silverware (the League Cup).

      I’d argue that this year’s League Cup has been more entertaining so far than the FA Cup.

      The prize winning money is meaningless. This is an opportunity for both clubs for perhaps their only chance in their careers to win a medal of such significance.

      The Gaffer

      • IanCransonsKnees

        February 23, 2013 at 9:50 am

        Far more so. The stars are aligning so predictably for the FA Cup to be won by a usual top 4 suspect, how exciting that will be!

        The situation is getting as ridculous as Spain where I don’t understand how anyone gets joy from watching two teams steamroll the rest of the league.

        Without matches like tomorrow football would be pointless for the majority of fans.

  3. Gary

    February 22, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    I think Swansea’s style of play will cause all kinds of problems for Bradford City. Bradford doesn’t have the quality that Swansea possess and I can only see one winner in this one. It won’t even be close.

    Laudrup is not the type of manager to allow his team to be complacent and their drubbing at the hands of Liverpool last week will be erased with a good performance in the cup final. Swansea will play their strongest side I can see them scoring anywhere between 3 to 5 goals.

  4. Bluster

    February 22, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    The commercial for this game on Be In Sports is a joke….apparently Bradford is located in some place called West York-Shy-Err. They need to get real advertising quick, or at least a new announcer.

  5. dust

    February 22, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    I dont see swansea letting this moment pass them by, Swansea that played v Chelsea and Farcenal, if that team turns up it will not be close.

    Bradford were impressive in this run, more than any team in a quiet a while, but playing at wembley will be a completely different experience. That playing surface is perfect for swansea’s passing game, i see this game over by half time if that swansea I mention above show up.. but to be honest even if they don’t I still see swansea winning, I just don’t see Bradford being able to threaten from open play… perhaps from a set piece where Swansea have shown they are vulnerable.

    Perhaps Swansea will underestimate Bradford and need to concede a goal from a set piece to wake them up, but I just don’t see swansea not being up for it.

    Swansea 3 Bradford 0

    Anyone know what the odds are of Laudrup being cfc or everton manager at the start of next season?

    • dust

      February 22, 2013 at 4:13 pm

      *quite a while

      • IanCransonsKnees

        February 22, 2013 at 4:20 pm

        Chelsea’s a good call.

        • Guy

          February 22, 2013 at 9:08 pm

          Laudrup seems smarter than that. 😉

  6. IanCransonsKnees

    February 22, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    I’d like to see Bradford do it but can’t really see. It’ll be great seeing Swansea fly the flag for England in Europe if they get there though 😉

  7. Mufc77

    February 22, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Good luck to both teams but I have to go with the Swans on Sunday. I think I had them as one of my 3 teams going down after Brenda Rodgers left but they have carried on the good form from the first season in the league.

    Hopefully a win Sunday doesn’t mean they lose another manager to one of the big clubs, I’d love to see them keep on progressing in the league for no other reason than they always try to play good football and the club seems to run very well.

  8. M Owen

    February 22, 2013 at 11:39 am

    I for one am looking forward to this game…have a feeling Swansea will play right into Bradford’s plan.

    what a story to beat three PL teams to win the cup.

    nothing against Swansea as they have would deserve the cup equally if they win it as well.

    hope its a good game and doesn’t turn out one sided.

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