City look to heap further misery on Sarri in Carabao Cup final

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In a game that should be about two English footballing heavyweights competing for a cup, it has been overwhelmed by whether Maurizio Sarri would be sacked if Chelsea do lose to Manchester City in the Carabao cup final.

Sarri has beaten the seemingly invincible Man City once already this season – although their 2-0 victory in December feels a lifetime ago.

City extracted revenge at the Etihad when they condemned Chelsea to their heaviest ever Premier League defeat with a 6-0 thrashing of Sarri’s men. Pep Guardiola has already beaten the Italian to silverware when he captured the Community Shield in August.

The hosts form going into this match is best described as counterproductive, as though on paper they have three wins in the last six, two of those have been in cups and between each win is a loss so they haven’t been able to go on a run.

As for Guardiola’s side they won five of the last six with only a slip up losing to Newcastle 2-1. They’ve scored 19 goals in their last six games while only conceding six.

How did each side make it to the final?

Chelsea:

Out of the two finalists Sarri’s men are the only side to lose a match coming into the final during their cup run. First off a late fightback from Emerson and Eden Hazard gave the blues a 2-1 win over Liverpool.

Next up they beat former player Frank Lampard’s Derby County with the help of two own goals from the Championship side, they only went through after Cesc Fabregas scored late in the first half making it 3-2.

Hazard again would be bailing his side out as Bournemouth were beaten 1-0 at Stamford Bridge after a late winner from the Belgian.

That set up a two-legged affair with fellow London side Tottenham Hotspur, which firstly resulted in a loss when the blues travelled to Wembley, though the second leg they overturned the deficit beating Spurs on penalties at Stamford Bridge after Fernando Llorente forced the shootout scoring in the second half.

Manchester City:

The third round saw City travel to Oxford to face the League One side though they were never troubled and left winning 3-0 after goals from Gabriel Jesus, Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden.

That set up a tie with fellow Premier League side Fulham, though the struggling side failed to deny former Citizens player Brahim Díaz from scoring a double, which was enough on the night meaning they won 2-0.

Leicester City were next and they forced the table toppers into a penalty shootout as Marc Albrighton’s second-half strike cancelled out Kevin De Bruyne’s. Though the shootout was won 3-1 and they progressed to play Burton Albion.

Burton Albion were the first team in the third tier of English football to reach the semi-finals since Sheffield United back 2014-15. This didn’t stop City from destroying the League One club over two legs, they won 9-0 at the Etihad while sparing Nigel Clough’s side in the second leg only winning 1-0 thanks to Sergio Agüero

Guardiola announced his doubt that the two sides last meeting would affect the tie:

“I don’t like to play the same team in a short period of time when you have beaten them before,” he said. “Chelsea have incredibly professional players, they are proud and bright and will do extra. We are going to play the type of game you have to play in a final and try to win the title.

“Of course it is not the most important title of the season but once we are here in an amazing stadium against a top side, we want to prepare to win.”

Sarri spoke after his sides poor start against Malmo earlier during the week, expressing his hope that they don’t start the same way against their upcoming opponents:

“It would be a disaster, of course. I think that we played the first 30 minutes without confidence. Nervous. We were unable to move the ball very fast.

“We were in trouble on their pressing. Then a little bit better in the last 15 minutes of the first half and then, after the first goal, very well.”

The hosts have three doubts for the game at Wembley stadium as Davide Zappacosta and Pedro have been suffering from a virus and will face a late fitness test to determine their inclusion.

Goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga is the only major injury news when he picked up a Hamstring injury before the Malmo game and his manager was asked about the possibility of their club’s record signing playing and he simply said “I hope so.” If the Spaniard isn’t available then former City player Willy Caballero will deputise.

City could have as many as four players back to play Chelsea as Fabian Delph (illness), John Stones (groin), Benjamin Mendy (knee) and Gabriel Jesus (hamstring) could make a recovery in time for the tie.

There could be one major change to the team as Guardiola has refused to rule out playing Kosovan international Arijanet Muric over normal number one Ederson, he has played every minute of the Carabao cup so far for the Citizens.

Belgian winger Hazard is currently the London clubs top goalscorer he has 15 in the 34 matches, he has played a number of matches as a striker for his side but has since moved back out wide.

The 28-year-old last scored when he netted twice against Huddersfield Town at the start of the month, he’s also the sides joint leading assister with ten, sharing it with Brazilian winger Willian.

Argentine striker Agüero is the ‘Citizens’ top scorer with 24 in 31 games, last scoring in the Manchester-based side’s 3-2 win over FC Schalke 04.

In terms of assists winger, Raheem Sterling leads the way setting up 15 in the 34 matches he has played in close behind him is Leroy Sané with one less.

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News writer for Prost International, I get out to games but mainly cover EFL and women's football. Found here: https://twitter.com/BrandonPrangell

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