With four teams just one game away from a Carabao Cup Final, we look back to the last time each semi-finalist played at Wembley. For some, the opportunity to play at the legendary ground has been years in the making.
The chance to play at the legendary home of English football is a career-defining moment for many players. It can also be an opportunity that rarely happens for a lot of teams; as a result, any game at Wembley is a special experience for all.
Currently, four sides have the chance to reach Wembley’s first final of 2023 via the Carabao Cup.
Two teams have taken advantage after the first leg of the semi-finals in the 2022/23 competition. Firstly, Newcastle grabbed a vital 1-0 win away at Southampton. The Saints will therefore have to upset what will be a raucous St James’ Park in the second leg in order to progress.
Meanwhile, Manchester United took a big step towards Wembley by beating Nottingham Forest 3-0 in their Carabao Cup first-leg. Marcus Rashford continued his strong scoring form, with Wout Weghorst also scoring his first United goal.
This means that Forest face an uphill task in order to see the famous Wembley Arch. At least they have been there fairly recently, though.
Nottingham Forest: 2022 Championship play-off Final
Nottingham Forest and their fans actually ventured to Wembley just last season. During their successful promotion back to the Premier League, Forest won the play-off Final there.
In May 2022, a tense affair saw the Reds claim a 1-0 victory to seal their return to the topflight. They overcame Huddersfield thanks to an own goal from Levi Colwill.
However, before that glorious day last season, Forest fans had waited thirty years for another trip to London. Their last League Cup final came in 1992, where Nottingham lost to Man United.
Fast forward to 2023, and it seems the Red Devils will bring Forest even more Cup heartache.
Southampton: 2021 FA Cup semi-final
Although their Premier League campaigns have been difficult in recent years, Southampton have a surprisingly decent Cup history over the past few seasons.
For example, they made it to Wembley for the 2017 Carabao Cup Final (then called the EFL Cup). But the Saints could not take the win that day, losing 3-2 to Jose Mourinho’s Man United.
Their most recent appearance at the home of English football was similarly disappointing. Southampton reached the semi-final of the 2020/21 FA Cup following wins over Shrewsbury, Arsenal, Wolves, and Bournemouth. Leicester proved just one step too far, though, as the Saints succumbed to a 1-0 defeat.
To make matters worse, this game took place during COVID crowd restrictions. As a result, supporters did not even get to enjoy a day out to the iconic stadium. Maybe Nathan Jones’ side can overturn their first-leg deficit to give the Saints faithful some cheer in 2023.
Man United: 2020 FA Cup semi-final
The second-longest Wembley drought among the Carabao Cup semi-finalists belongs to Man United. Throughout their history, United have taken many trips to the hallowed ground; whether it be for Champions League, FA Cup, or League Cup occasions, they have been regular visitors.
They also played in the first FA Cup Final held at the “new” Wembley Stadium, in 2007.
Despite this, the Red Devils have been on a three-year hiatus from trips to Wembley. And, even when they get there, the club’s recent Cup form has only provided disappointment.
In 2020, with fans only able to watch from home, the Red Devils lost 3-1 to Chelsea in their FA Cup semi-final. Olivier Giroud, Mason Mount, and a Harry Maguire own goal fired the Blues to the showpiece game.
Meanwhile, the defeat left United without silverware once again. Erik ten Hag will hope to break their six-year trophyless spell with a Carabao Cup victory next month.
Newcastle: 2000 FA Cup semi-final
Rather bizarrely, Newcastle’s last Wembley showing was a Premier League game.
Whilst awaiting the completion of their new stadium, fans may remember that Spurs played home matches under the Arch. So, the Magpies’ most recent appearance was a 1-0 loss to Tottenham during their 2018/19 league campaign.
But we are not going to count this in the context of “reaching” Wembley. Instead, the last time Newcastle progressed to play at the famous stadium came 23 years ago.
With Sir Bobby Robson in charge, the Magpies visited the twin towers of the old Wembley for an FA Cup semi-final showdown with Chelsea.
Sadly, and like most teams on this list, their last game on the hallowed turf ended in defeat. Chelsea proved too strong and took a 2-1 win thanks to a Gus Poyet double. Following this, Newcastle have gone on a long run of disappointing Cup exits.
Now, though, Eddie Howe has brought renewed optimism to Tyneside. The manager has fans dreaming of a long-awaited trip down south – can Newcastle do it this year?
Featured image credit: Getty