Founded in 2011, the Continental Cup has only ever had two different winners in its eight-year history. It’s time for that to change.
Arsenal and Manchester City are the only two sides to win the competition since its inception. The Gunners have five titles compared to City’s three.
Arsenal have actually made the final of the competition in seven of the eight seasons that it has been running.Embed from Getty Images
The two sides have dominated the competition, even when they weren’t dominating the league.
Liverpool failed to pick up a Conti Cup win when they won back-to-back league titles in 2013 and 2014.
Why does someone else need to win?
The Conti Cup is not seen as a prestigious honour by very many fans. Some are very outspoken about their disdain for the competition.
Chelsea manager Emma Hayes voiced her grievances with the Cup earlier this season.
“Sell the Women’s Super League; why are we diluting our product? This competition, that competition. Boom, one league, it’s not difficult.” Hayes told the Guardian.Embed from Getty Images
She has a point, too. With the repetitiveness of the teams that are winning the competition, it is becoming a pointless exercise to have the competition exist.
Especially with the current format that includes a group stage. With the Champions Leauge bringing in a group stage, too, some clubs will have to worry about three separate league tables at any given time.
That’s way too much fixture congestion. If they really wanted to have Championship and WSL sides playing each other, surely the FA would just make the WSL into a 20-team league?
A new winner could bring some more life to the competition and make other teams feel like it may actually be worth their time.
The competition is seen as a chance to rotate and give players a rest for the most part. Even Championship side Leicester rested players for their fixture against Manchester United — a game which United won 11-1.
With the concept of a group stage, teams find out very quickly if they even stand a chance of qualification. This leads to teams completely writing off their chances after losing on matchday one.Embed from Getty Images
The competition needs a serious re-working in order to not only be more competitive but to also appeal to more teams to put in the effort to compete at the highest level.
Taking out the group stage would instantly make the competition more competitive. Teams will be more likely to have the mentality that they could beat the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal in a one-off tie rather than having to play them in a round-robin.
Who could win it?
Chelsea and Manchester United stick out as the two sides with the best chances to stop City and Arsenal.
It would be sod’s law for Emma Hayes and her Chelsea side to go and win the cup in the same season that she so audibly tore it apart.Embed from Getty Images
Plus, her team is rife with quality. In every single position, they have the same level of quality as Manchester City and Arsenal.
They are the biggest challengers on paper. If it were down to straight quality, then you couldn’t look past Chelsea.
However, Manchester United seem like dark horses for this competition. They have already beaten Manchester City in the Conti Cup this season and waltzed through the group stage, comfortably winning their group.
The Red Devils play Brighton in their quarter-final match too, perhaps giving them a more favourable route into the next round.
Chelsea face Championship high-flyers Aston Villa, who will be more than up for the trip to Kingsmeadow.Embed from Getty Images
You should not rule out the other four teams either. Both Sheffield United and Aston Villa could surprise people — although they do face Manchester City and Chelsea respectively.
Brighton and Reading are the other two sides in the competition. Reading travel to face Arsenal at Meadow Park.
Brighton make the long trip to the north-west to face Manchester United.
The Conti Cup final is set for Saturday, February 29. The venue for the final is yet to be announced.