Villa move a step closer to ending trophy drought
Aston Villa are potentially just 90 minutes away from ending their 24-year wait for a trophy after booking their place in the EFL Cup final.
Villa have not lifted a major piece of silverware since beating Leeds 3-0 in the 1996 EFL Cup final, with Savo Milosevic, Ian Taylor and Dwight Yorke scoring the goals for Brian Little’s side that day.
However, they booked their place in this year’s final with their dramatic 3-2 aggregate success over Leicester on Tuesday that was sealed thanks to Trezeguet’s 90th-minute strike.
Dean Smith’s side will now face either Manchester City or Manchester United in the final at Wembley on March 1 and supporters will be starting to dream about ending their long wait for silverware.
The Villans did win last season’s Championship play-off final by beating Derby, but their record in cup showpieces since their 1996 triumph has been poor.
Their most recent appearance in a major cup final was in the 2015 FA Cup and it did not end well for a Villa side that were already on the decline and would finish bottom of the Premier League the following season.
Indeed, Villa were thrashed 4-0 by Arsenal that day, although only one player involved in that match remains on the books at Villa Park and that is captain Jack Grealish, who was nothing more than a promising teenager at the time.
Villa also had the honour of contesting the last ever FA Cup final to take place at the old Wembley in 2000, although that too ended in defeat, all be it by a much smaller margin, as a Roberto Di Matteo strike handed Chelsea a 1-0 win.
The Villans last EFL Cup final appearance came in 2010 at a time when the club were regularly challenging for a top-six finish in the Premier League under Martin O’Neill.
A cup triumph certainly would have been the icing on the cake for that period, but it was not to be, as they were beaten 2-1 by Manchester United.
Current Liverpool star James Milner had opened the scoring for Villa with an early penalty, but strikes from Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney handed United the victory.
With United or City awaiting Villa in this year’s final, it is safe to say Smith’s side will be underdogs once again heading into the showpiece
However, if Villa can pull off an upset then a whole new generation of supporters will get to celebrate a cup success for the very first time.