Competition/Round: 2018/19 EFL “Carabao” Cup – Final
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London, England, United Kingdom
Referee: Jon Moss
Assistants: Andy Halliday, Marc Perry
Fourth Official: Paul Tierney
VAR: Martin Atkinson, Steve Child
TV Info: Sky Sports Football (UK)
Live Stream: SKY GO Extra (UK); ESPN+ (USA)
Radio: BBC Radio Manchester (UK)
The first opportunity to win silverware in the 2018/19 season is here. Chelsea will face Manchester City in the EFL “Carabao” Cup Final. The match will be held on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.
These two EPL teams last met two weeks ago in the trashing at the Etihad. Since their last encounter, Chelsea have had mixed results. They were eliminated in the FA Cup Fifth Round by Manchester United. The Londoners also find themselves in sixth place in the English Premier League table. Chelsea did, however, overcome Swedish club Malmö FF in the UEFA European League Round of 32 and have progressed to the competition’s Round of 16. Should they overcome Ukrainian side Dynamo Kyiv, Chelsea would be on course to the Europa League Quarterfinals. A deep run in the Europe League could serve as an alternate route to qualifying for the UEFA Champions League next season.
Manchester City, meanwhile, remain in contention for all four titles this season. They easily overcame League Two’s Newport County in the FA Cup Fifth Round and will face Swansea in the competition’s Quarterfinals. They also are top of the EPL table, albeit this may change as Liverpool, who have a game in hand, will face Manchester United on Sunday. Finally, City are in command of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie as the ten-man Mancunian side defeated Schalke 04 by 2-3. Whilst there will be everything to play for in the second leg, City have the slender advantage.
Shifting away from their respective international competitions, the two EPL giants will now focus on the EFL Cup Final. With the first opportunity to win silverware this season, there will be much to play for in this match. Will Chelsea mirror their spectacular performance from December? Or will Manchester City replicate the route from two weeks ago?
Chelsea are without the injured Charly Musonda, Danny Drinkwater, Davide Zappacosta, Gary Cahill and Marco van Ginkel. Kepa Arrizabalaga and Pedro unexpectedly picked up injuries during the FA Cup match against Manchester United, and it is unlikely they will feature in this match. Finally, Ross Barkley, Olivier Giroud and Callum Hudson-Odoi, who started in the game against Malmö, will likely be replaced by Jorginho, Gonzalo Higuain and Eden Hazard.
Manchester City long-term absentees Benjamin Mendy and Claudio Bravo remain injured and will not feature in this match. Gabriel Jesus and John Stones are recovering from their minor injuries and it is doubtful they will play in this fixture. Finally, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva seemed to struggle in the match against Schalke 04 and it is possible they will be replaced in this match by İlkay Gündoğan and Leroy Sané.
Caballero; Azpilicueta, Rüdiger, Luiz, Alonso; Kanté, Jorginho, Kovačić; Willian, Higuain, Hazard
Manager: Maurizio Sarri
Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Laporte, Danilo; Gündoğan, Fernandinho, B. Silva; Sterling, Agüero, Sané
Manager: Pep Guardiola
As they prepare for the EFL Cup Final, the mentality of these two teams is drastically different.
Given Chelsea’s dip in form, many pundits have suggested Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri will be sacked should his side fail to win the EFL Cup on Sunday. Moreover, FIFA announced on Friday that Chelsea had breached its transfer rules on signing minors. If upheld, the ban will result in transfer ban over of the next two windows. Simply put, it has been a dramatic week in the London dressing room.
In contrast, Manchester City are still in contention to obtain multiple pieces of silverware this season. Moreover, City manager Pep Guardiola will look to add to his impressive resume with yet another trophy. City fought back in an impressive comeback win against Schalke, and they will look to add to their good fortunes by attempting to win the EFL Cup. If successful, the Mancunians would only be the fourth English club to retain the EFL Cup in consecutive seasons.
Simply put, the pressure is on Chelsea. Win, and this would boost their season. Lose, and it is likely Sarri will be sacked. Similarly, should City win this title, it could lead to a series of titles for them this season.
Therefore, with these stakes in mind, both sides will give it their all in this final. These top clubs are capable of phenomenal football, and it is predicted this match will have to be decided in extra time. In the end, however, Manchester City will prevail.
Chelsea 1-2 Manchester City (After Extra Time)