Sunday afternoon well see Chelsea take on Manchester City in the final of the EFL Cup, the pressure is on Blues boss Maurizio Sarri and a heavy defeat could see the Italian part ways with the Blues. As ever you will be able to watch all the action Live & Exclusive on beIN CONNECT.
Chelsea will be looking to bounce back from their 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City, just 13 days ago. Since then the Blues have been kicked out of the FA Cup by Manchester United and defeated Malmo over two legs in the Europa League, but make no mistake the pressure is well and truly on Sarri heading into the Wembley final.
Although stranger things have happened in football, and it wouldn’t be a major shock if Chelsea did defy the odds and lift the EFL Cup for the first time since 2015. Sarri will be looking to his sides 2-1 win over Man City at Stamford Bridge as the blueprint to get the better of Pep Guardiola’s side. That time goals from N’Golo Kante & David Luiz consigned the Citizens to their first league of the season.
In team news, Chelsea are sweating on the fitness of keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. That could see former City keeper Willy Caballero get the nod in goal. Otherwise, It is widely expected that Sarri will stick with the same system and players that he kept with for the majority of the season. Expect the likes of Jorginho, Eden Hazard and Gonzalo Higuain to all return to the starting lineup.
Chelsea Predicted Team
Caballero; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Barkley; Willian, Higuain, Hazard
Channel - 11HD
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Kick-Off - 19:30 Mecca
As for Man City, they are fresh from an impressive 3-2 comeback win against Schalke in the Champions League. The feat was even more impressive considering Nicolas Otamendi was given his marching orders 22 minutes from time. A stunning free-kick from Leroy Sane and a breakaway finish from Raheem Sterling ensured that City have the upper hand heading into the second leg in a few weeks’ time.
It seems that City have clicked into gear just when it mattered most. After faltering to Newcastle at the end of January, City has won their last five games in all competitions scoring 18 goals in the process.
Pep’s side will now be looking to retain the EFL Cup and the Premier League, and I’m sure that the players will be keeping a close eye on the goings-on at Old Trafford between Manchester United and title rivals Liverpool. Of course, a win on Sunday also represents the first step of a historic quadruple, although Pep Guardiola has been quick to dismiss any notion of a four-trophy haul this season.
In team news Guardiola has a decision to make regarding backup keeper Arijanet Muric and if the 20-year will start at Wembley. Having started this season in the EFL Cup, the Swiss-born stopper should get the nod over Ederson. Whilst the trio of John Stones, Gabriel Jesus & Benjamin Mendy should play a part in the game after missing out in the Champions League. Fresh from signing a contract extension with the club Aymeric Laporte is widely expected to continue in defence.
Manchester City Predicted Team
Muric; Walker, Otamendi, Laporte, Zinchenko; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, D Silva; Bernardo, Aguero, Sterling
It certainly promises to be a fascinating encounter as Chelsea take on Manchester City in the EFL Cup Final. Follow all the action Live & Exclusive via beIN CONNECT.