Due to train delays caused by a "major signal failure", about 2,000 fans were late for the kick off of the match. This led to many fans asking for the game to be delayed.Network Rail later apologised for the delay.
A record seven minutes of stoppage time were added to the match due to the injury suffered by Chelsea captain John Terry when he was kicked in the face by Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby in the second half. Terry attempted a diving header and Diaby, in an attempt to clear, ended up kicking Terry and knocking him out. Terry was immediately stretchered off and taken to the hospital, but later discharged himself and returned to the stadium to celebrate with his teammates. Stoppage time was extended by an extra five minutes following a fracas that resulted in Arsenal captain Kolo Touré and striker Emmanuel Adebayor and Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel being sent off for violent conduct and Frank Lampard and Cesc Fàbregas shown yellow cards for unsporting behaviour. The full-time whistle eventually blew in the 103rd minute of play.
After the initial bookings of Touré and Mikel, referee Howard Webb consulted with an assistant referee, and Adebayor was sent off, allegedly over striking Wayne Bridge. Adebayor was irate and had to be calmed down as he was escorted off the field by fellow striker Thierry Henry, who was not chosen for the match because he had not participated in the League Cup run. After the game, Bridge told reporters that he had been punched by Emmanuel Eboué — not Adebayor, whom he suspected to be a victim of mistaken identity. The next day Arsenal and Chelsea submitted claims for wrongful dismissal of Adebayor and Mikel, respectively, to the FA. The FA denied both appeals, also stating that Adebayor's claim "was not a claim for mistaken identity." The FA statement charged Arsenal and Chelsea misconduct concerning their inability to control their players. As a result Eboué was charged with violent conduct for striking Bridge; Adebayor was charged for his behaviour after being sent off. The recipients of these charges may have their case heard by a Disciplinary Commission.
Terry's injury and Touré's sending off meant that neither side's captain finished the game. After each player had left the field the captains' armbands were given to Lampard and Fàbregas respectively.
It was the last League Cup final to be played in Cardiff, before the opening of the new Wembley Stadium (the final's traditional venue). It was also the only League Cup Final to be played at the Millennium Stadium with the roof open.
The match was also interrupted by incidents of Chelsea fans throwing celery in the direction of the Arsenal players. Throwing celery on the pitch is a club tradition among Chelsea supporters. The violence and sendings off on the pitch led to some media outlets dubbing the match as the "Snarling Cup Final".