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Winner takes it all?

Opta take a look at the long-term ramifications for the winners and losers in the Carling Cup final this weekend

Last Updated: 25/02/11 11:36am

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Winning the Carling Cup would be the springboard to a minimum top-two Premier League finish for Arsenal, according to new Opta statistics.

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Over the past 10 years the winner of the competition has achieved a 10 per cent increase in points gathered for the remainder of the season, enough to guarantee a runners-up position at least.

Opta data compiled for this weekend's Carling Cup final reveals that for the successful team the average points haul per league game rises from 1.81 to 1.99 after the final.

Winning finalists have also gone on to do well in other competitions, with Liverpool claiming the FA Cup and Uefa Cup in 2001, Chelsea winning the FA Cup in 2007 and Manchester United winning the Premier League in 2009.

Upset the odds

However, a defeat could spell another barren season for Arsene Wenger. Over the past decade losing finalists who were still involved in all four major competitions ended up with nothing at the end of the season.

This has already happened to Arsenal following their 2007 defeat to Chelsea, before the Stamford Bridge outfit suffered the same fate a year later as they concluded the season empty-handed.

If Birmingham can upset the odds at Wembley, they can take heart from the fact that the only team to be in a relegation place when they played the League Cup final over the last 10 seasons was Blackburn Rovers in 2002.

Graeme Souness' side beat Tottenham 2-1 and from 18th position at the time of the League Cup final, roared up the table to end the season in 10th spot.

Runners-up also benefit from the glamour of the League Cup final. Opta's study shows that the beaten side generally sees their league position and points-per-game tally improve, albeit slightly less than the winning side.

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