The unlikeliest of finals usually happens in the least important of competitions, but a ticket to the Europa League is no joke for both Swansea, only in their second Premier League season but with plenty of compliments behind them, and certainly not for Bradford, coming from the middle of the table in League Two.
Bradford had to play in all six rounds of the competitions, beginning their road with a 1-0 win over Notts County with a goal from James Hanson. Their surprising road continued in the second round with a dramatic road win over Watford, beating them 2-1 with goals from Kyel Reid and Gary Thompson, scoring in injury time.
The third round is when the competition gets a little bit more serious, but Bradford were lucky to play Burton Albion, beating the side 3-2 after extra time, with goals from Nahki Wells (90th minute equalizer) and the 115th minute winner from Stephen Darby, former Liverpool player.
The fourth round saw the first big upset, as Bradford drew Wigan to a 0-0 result after 120 minutes, before going through on penalty kicks. In the quarterfinals, Bradford were able to cause another huge upset, drawing 1-1 with Arsenal (leading through Garry Thompson) and winning in a another penalty shootout.
The semifinal was about displacing another Premier League side, beating Aston Villa in two legs 4-3. To the final they come out of the 11th spot in League 2, winning only one match out of their last nine in the league. In the competition Nahki Wells (Bermuda) is their top scorer with 3 goals. In the league, he leads them with 14 goals this season.
Swansea haven’t played in a week, and even that wasn’t enough rest for them, as Michael Laudrup gave up on the league match against Liverpool, fielding a second string unit that lost 5-0. Swansea began their League Cup road with a 3-1 win over Barnsley, with a brace from Luke Moore and another goal from Danny Graham.
On to the third round, where Swansea traveled to Crawley Town, beating their lower division rivals 3-2 thanks to a dramatic, injury time goal by Garry Monk, finishing the job Michu and Danny Graham started. In the fourth round, it was a much more impressive display and win, beating Liverpool 3-1 at Anfield with goals by Chico, Nathan Dyer and Jonathan de Guzman.
The quarterfinals saw a stubborn Middlesbrough side hang on for 81 minutes before an own goal by Seb Hines gave Swansea the ticket to the semifinal. In the semis, they beat Chelsea in two legs, thanks to a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge (Michu and Danny Graham) before a 0-0 draw at home, known for the Eden Hazard – Ball boy incident.
Michu is the team’s top scorer this season in the Premier League, as Swansea are ranked 9th in the competition so far. He has scored 15 goals in the competition. In the capital one cup, Danny Graham with 3 goals is their leading scorer.
Prediction – Swansea rested everyone that mattered in the 5-0 drubbing against Liverpool, but the stubborn Bradford defy logic and tactics, usually favoring Swansea. Still, despite the Cinderella taste to the match, if Swansea get their usual passing game going well for them, Michu should be too much to handle for the Division 2 side.