What are the differences between the FA Cup and the EFL Cup?
Ahead of the third round of the 2021-22 FA Cup and semi-finals of the Carabao Cup (EFL Cup), we look at the differences between both competitions.
Cup football takes central stage in the week ahead in England as the first leg of the EFL/Carabao Cup semi-final sees Chelsea face Tottenham on Wednesday as Arsenal welcome Liverpool the following day with the winners set to do battle in the Wembley Stadium final on 27 February.
The following weekend sees the staging of the third round of the FA Cup as the Premier League sides enter the fray with holders Leicester City set to defend their title with a home game on Saturday, 9 January to Watford.
FA Cup-EFL Cup differences
The FA (Football Association) Cup is the oldest football competition in the world having existed since 1871 and currently features a myriad of teams from across the pyramid of the English game with 976 sides involved in the competition with a series of preliminary rounds before the top flight sides join the competition in the third round. The competition is held in high esteem and generally referred to as the definitive knock-out competition with its open draw and lack of a seeding system.
The first final in 1872 was won by London based 'Wanderers' who overcame 'Royal Engineers' with a 1-0 win in front of 2,000 spectators at the Kennington Oval in South London. Arsenal are the most successful side in FA Cup history winning the title on a record 14 occasions with the last win for the 'Gunners' coming in 2020.
The competition became sponsored originally in the 90s with Littlewoods adding their name to the cup. At present UAE based airline Emirates sponsors the competition with Budweiser, AXA and E-On being recent sponsors.
All FA Cup games are played over single legs with replays set to return in the 2021-22 season having been done away with in the past campaign due to the fixture back-log caused by the covid pandemic.
The EFL Cup was conceived in the 1960-61 season and is open to all 92 clubs who make up the top four leagues in English football. The competition was originally known as the League Cup and since the 1980s been sponsored with the likes of Rumbleows, Worthington's and Coca-Cola being prior sponsors. The current sponsor Carabao is a Thai based energy drink and has been adding its brand to the competition since 2017.
Norwich City won the inaugural competition in 1962 with a 4-0 aggregate win over Rochdale. At present just the semi-final is staged over two legs and the competition is very-much overshadowed by the FA Cup with many clubs happy to field youth or fringe players in early rounds of the tournament.
The winners of the competition secure access to UEFA's Conference League the following season.