Road To The EFL Cup Final: Aston Villa

Dave Kuzio:

Aston Villa will be looking to win their sixth EFL Cup when they take on Manchester City in the final at Wembley Stadium on March 1. We take a look here at how they made it to the 2019/20 Final.

READ MORE: Get our free EFL Cup Final tips for Aston Villa v Manchester City

Round 2: Crewe Alexandra 1-6 Aston Villa

Aston Villa entered this year’s EFL Cup at the second round and they were handed an away trip to League Two side Crewe Alexandra. This was a walk in the park for the Premier League side as they led 3-0 at the break. They took the lead inside five minutes when Ezri Konsa scored on his debut, while a brace from Barnsley midfielder Conor Hourihane saw them end the tie in the first half. Villa refused to let up in the second half as two goals in seven minutes from Keinan Davis and Frederic Guilbert saw them lead 5-0. Crewe did pull a goal back six minutes from time through Ryan Wintle, but Jack Grealish rounded off the night with Villa’s sixth in the 87th minute.

Round 3: Brighton & Hove Albion 1-3 Aston Villa

Villa’s reward for beating Crewe was another away tie, this time against fellow Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion. Villa again took control in the first half. They opened the scoring in the 22nd minute when Jota fired past David Button. They led 2-0 at the break thanks to a fine strike from Hourihane. Brighton started to make a game of it in the second period and they pulled one back when Haydn Roberts headed home, but for the second cup game in succession Grealish scored to end the tie.

Round 4: Aston Villa 2-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Villa were handed their first home tie of the competition when they were paired against local rivals Wolves for a place in the quarter-finals.  The home side led 1-0 at the break after Anwar El Ghazi’s close-range effort beat John Ruddy in the Wolves goal. The visitors levelled matters nine minutes after the break when Taylor Perry laid the ball off for Patrick Cutrone to score. Wolves were only on level terms for three minutes as Ahmed Elmohamady turned home Henri Lansbury’s free-kick to send Villa through to the last eight.

Quarter-Final: Aston Villa 5-0 Liverpool

When the quarter-final tie was announced, many people thought that Liverpool would blow away Villa and that Dean Smith’s men would exit the tournament in front of their own fans. They obviously had other ideas. Liverpool named a very young squad with no regular first-teamers in action as they were all in Qatar for the Club World Cup. Villa took full advantage of that and taught those youngsters a footballing lesson. They led 4-0 at the break as goals from Hourihane, a Morgan Boyes own goal and two from Jonathan Kodija ended this game as a contest. Villa only added one more goal after the break with Wesley completing the scoring in injury time.

Semi-Final 1st Leg: Leicester City 1-1 Aston Villa

There was belief in the Villa camp that could reach the final of the EFL Cup for the first time since 2010 when the lost 2-1 to Manchester United. They were drawn against another local rival in Leicester City with the first leg taking place at the King Power Stadium. Away don’t count in the EFL Cup anymore but Villa took the lead on 28 minutes when Guilbert scored his second goal of the competition when he converted El Ghazi’s cross past Kasper Schmeichel. The Foxes were probably the better team in this game and they deservedly drew level 16 minutes from time when former Manchester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho fired home after being put through by Jamie Vardy to set up a mouth-watering second leg.

Semi-Final 2nd Leg: Aston Villa 2-1 Leicester City

There is nothing like a bit of drama to send a team to a cup final and we certainly got that at Villa Park. Villa led for a large part of this game after Matt Targett put them in front in the 12th minute. It would tale until the 72nd for Leicester to get level as Iheanacho turned in a fine cross from Harvey Barnes to set up a grandstand finish. The game looked like it was heading to penalties, but Villa had other ideas. They sealed the win in the third minute of added time when Trezeguet sparked off jubilant scenes by drilling home the winner following an excellent cross from Elmohamedy. Villa will now face Manchester City in the EFL Cup Final on Sunday, March 1 at Wembley Stadium.