Just a couple of weeks ago, Chelsea football club had a salutory lesson in football play when they travelled to the Etihad Stadium to take on Manchester City and came away from the game licking their wounds following a 6-0 mauling by a rampant City side. Such was the decisiveness of that victory and the poor performance of Chelsea, that the Blues boss Mauricio Sarri has been under pressure as manager ever since.
However, Sarri now has a chance at redemption of sorts on Sunday as he leads his team out onto the hallowed turf at Wembley Stadium to face Manchester City once again, this time in the final of the Carabao Cup. Extra time and penalties will be used, if needed to decide the winner if the teams cannot be split after 90 minutes in what promises to be an intriguing final between two of the Premier League’s current top six.
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We will be bringing you our top tips for the game on Sunday later in the article but before then, we will also be taking a closer look at the final itself, including taking a look at how both teams reached the showpiece game, which players are likely to be key for both City and Chelsea in determining their chances of success and of course, we’ll bring you what we think the two line-ups for the game will be.
But first we’ll give you a quick potted history of the Football League Cup Final over the years including how well both of these teams have performed in it.
Football League Cup Final History
The Football League Cup Final has gone under many names over the years due to sponsorship including the Milk Cup, the Littlewoods Cup, the Rumbelows Cup, the Carling Cup, Worthington Cup and now the Carabao Cup. Despite the constant change of name, it is the third most prestigious trophy in English football behind the Premier League title and the FA Cup.
Since it was first competed for in the 1960-61 season, the competition has been won the most by Liverpool who have amassed eight wins in the tournament. There are four teams that sit second in that table of winners and alongside Manchester United and Aston Villa, both Manchester City and Chelsea also have five wins to their name. This means that the winner of Sunday’s final will become the second most successful team in the tournament’s history with that win.
Chelsea last reached the final in 2015, where they beat Tottenham 2-0 at Wembley but in terms of recent success, Manchester City have reached four finals in the space of six years, winning the first three and now in with a chance of claiming their fourth Football League Cup win in six years, their first two wins coming back in the 1970s, in 1971 and 1976.
Let’s now take a look at how both teams reached the final.
Manchester City Road to Wembley
- Third Round – v Oxford United (A) – W 3-0 (Jesus 36, Mahrez 78, Foden 90+2)
- Fourth Round – v Fulham (H) – W 2-0 (Diaz 18,65)
- Quarterfinal – v Leicester (A) – D 1-1 (De Bruyne 14) *Man City won 3-1 on penalties
- Semifinal 1st Leg – v Burton Albion (H) – W 9-0 (De Bruyne 5, Jesus 30,34,57,65, Zinchenko 37, Foden 62, Walker 70, Mahrez 83)
- Semifinal 2nd Leg – v Burton Albion (A) – W 1-0 (Aguero 26)
City had a relatively comfortable passage into the final, with only Leicester City pushing them hard and taking their quarterfinal to penalties, where City held their nerve to win 3-1. A 10-0 aggregate demolition of Burton in the semifinal was a simple way to make the final and was City’s second game against League One opposition in the tournament following their third round win over Oxford United.
Chelsea Road to Wembley
- Third Round – v Liverpool (A) – W 2-1 (Palmieri 79, Hazard 85)
- Fourth Round – v Derby County (H) – W 3-2 (Tomori og 5, Keogh og 21, Fabregas 41)
- Quarterfinal – v Bournemouth (H) – W 1-0 (Hazard 84)
- Semifinal 1st Leg – v Tottenham (A) – L 0-1
- Semifinal 2nd Leg – v Tottenham (H) – W 2-1 (Kante 27, Hazard 38) *Chelsea win 4-2 on penalties
Chelsea had a much tougher route to the final as they defeated two top six Premier League teams, plus another Premier League side in Bournemouth and high-flying Championship side derby to claim their spot at Wembley. A strong performance in the second leg of the semifinal at Stamford Bridge, coming back from 1-0 down in the first leg to draw the game 2-2 and then clinch the place in the final on penalties was arguably the highlight of their campaign so far.
Manchester City – 4-3-3 – Ederson, Danilo, Zincheko, Stones, Laporte, Fernandinho, de Bruyne, Silva.D, Silva.B, Sterling, Aguero
Possible Changes – Mendy in for Zinchenko, Walker for Danilo, Sane for B.Silva, Jesus for Aguero, Fernandinho to play centre back, Laporte left back and Gundogan to come into midfield.
Chelsea – 4-3-3 – Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta, Alonso, Rudiger, David Luiz, Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic, Pedro, Hazard, Higuain
Possible Changes – Willian for Pedro, Barkley for Kovacic, Giroud for Higuain.
Carabao Cup Final Top Tips
Manchester City to win and both teams to score – 9/4 with bet365
It’s hard to back against Manchester City even if I do feel that Chelsea will be a much more difficult opponent for City this time around than they were at the Etihad a couple of weeks ago. Professional pride alone should be enough to ensure a better performance and while I do see Chelsea playing much better, and scoring a goal, I still feel City will do just enough to win.
Correct Score – Manchester City 2-1 Chelsea – 7/1
As I mentioned above, I think this game between the teams will be a lot closer than the game at the Etihad and much more like the game at Stamford Bridge. I can still see Chelsea being in this game right to the end and pushing City hard, but I still feel City have enough ability and quality to secure the win in normal time.