On the 23rd of January, 2024, Chelsea breezed past Middlesborough in the semi-final of the League Cup. They did so by hammering Boro 6-1 in the second leg at Stamford Bridge to overturn the 1-0 defeat they suffered in the reverse fixture in the North East. Hopes are now high that the Blues are turning a corner and, more than that, that they can win a trophy for the first time since 2021.
The League Cup – also known as the EFL Cup, or, if you dig sponsored naming, the Carabao Cup – is the least prestigious piece of silverware the club will compete for. That said, a trophy is a trophy and both players and fans love a trip to Wembley. But have the Blues ever won this competition before? And if so, when and how many times?
Have Chelsea Ever Won the EFL Cup?
The short answer here is yes, as we are sure all Chelsea supporters will know. And, what’s more, the club have won the competition five times. Only Liverpool (nine), Manchester City (eight) and Manchester United (six) have won it on more occasions, whilst Villa also boast five wins. In addition, the club have made the final on a further five occasions, including the upcoming clash on the 25th of February 2024.
That means that as things stand, the Blues have played in nine finals, winning five, or 56%, and losing four (44%). That is an impressive record compared to the majority of the Blues’ rivals. Whilst the North West giants have lifted the EFL Cup more times than the Pensioners, none of Chelsea’s London rivals can match their five wins, meaning this is another metric that shows that the club are the true kings of the capital.
Summary of Chelsea League Cup Wins
|3-2 after extra time
|2-0 after extra time
|3-2 over two legs
EFL Cup Final Defeats for Chelsea
|0-0 – lost on penalties
|0-0 – lost on penalties
|2-1 after extra time
Looking at these nine previous finals, several things stand out. First, Chelsea have tended to play top-class, big-name opposition. Of course, this being the final, that should not be a huge surprise but it does rather argue against the idea that this is a Mickey Mouse competition that the big teams are uninterested in.
Second, six of the nine finals have come in the 21st century, seven since 1998 and six since Roman Abramovich took over back in 2003 – which now seems like a lifetime ago! Younger fans supporting the club really don’t know quite how good they have had it!
Last, almost all of the finals Chelsea have appeared in have been very hard-fought, close encounters. Five out of nine have needed extra time or penalties, and only two of the games have been won by more than a single goal. Even one of those two-goal victories only came after extra time. As such, anyone making a prediction about the 2024 final might want to discard anything too weird, wild or wonderful.
Most Recent EFL Cup Win: 2015, 2-0 v Spurs
It is always nice beating Spurs and to do it in a cup final makes it all the more special. Back in 2015 the finale of the EFL Cup, then known as the Capital One Cup, was not played until March, a little later than usual. With spring firmly in their step, the Blues recorded one of their easier League Cup wins, getting the better of Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs 2-0 at a rainy Wembley.
Of course, we’re all Poch now, and hopefully the current Blues boss can gain personal EFL redemption by guiding the club to victory in the 2024 final. Back then, however, it was Jose Mourinho who was in the Chelsea dugout and it was another club legend who was named Man of the Match.
John Terry won that award and was the captain on the day and he also opened the scoring. His goal came just before half time and was his side’s first shot on target in what was a cagey affair. In the second half striker Diego Costa showed his big-game temperament by making it 2-0 via a deflection off Kyle Walker. It was not the greatest of games in truth but, for now at least, it remains the Blues’ most recent win in the competition.
First Win Comes in 1965 Over Two Legs
The League Cup (or more fully, Football League Cup), as it was exclusively known back then, was a very different beast in 1965. The competition had first been played in the 1960/61 season and Rotherham made the final, losing to Aston Villa. Until 1967 the final was played over two legs, home and away, QPR becoming the first club to lift the trophy at Wembley when they beat West Brom 3-2.
The first four editions of the League Cup were won by Villa, Norwich, Birmingham and Leicester, so it is safe to say the football landscape was rather different back then. Chelsea’s first appearance in the final came against the defending champions, Leicester, and they won 3-2 after managing to hold the Foxes to a 0-0 draw in the second leg at Filbert Street, Leicester’s old ground.
The mathematicians out there will have ascertained that Chelsea won the first leg 3-2 and a certain Terry Venables was among the scorers. Peter Bonetti was in goal, with George Graham and Ron Harris also playing. In winning, Chelsea became the first side from London to win the trophy and, excluding the Community (then Charity) Shield, this was just their second piece of silverware, after the league title they won in 1954/55.