Having made ten changes from the side that played against Liverpool at the weekend, Manchester City’s starting line-up still featured ten full internationals at the Emirates.
City’s victory at Arsenal means they have progressed to the semi-final of the Carling Cup twice in the past three years, and so Roberto Mancini could now decide to utilise the likes of match-winning substitute Sergio Aguero from the start in the competition.
The Italian boss is desperate to achieve success on all fronts for the Citizens, and with European advancement currently looking unlikely, even stronger sides should be expected to be selected for the upcoming two-legged semi-final clashes, justifying their 6/4 price to win the competition.
Whilst impressive teams still remain in the competition, none boast anything like the strength in depth available at Eastlands.
Of other contenders to the crown, Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has shown with his team selection at Chelsea that he has other priorities on his mind, and while his weakened side shouldn’t be taken lightly, City have enough options to overcome the 9/4 Reds over two legs.
Elsewhere, Championship outfit Cardiff sealed their semi-final spot with a home win over Blackburn, and are priced 16/1 for Carling Cup glory, but the undoubted class at the Citizens’ disposal would likely render a tie against lower league opposition almost pointless.
Similarly, a potential tie against 80/1 Crystal Palace would seem rather academic, although the more likely outcome is that Manchester United will be in the hat for the draw, reflected by the Red Devils’ 2/1 price for the Carling Cup.
This tie would provoke no fears from the blue half of Manchester though, as they have been assertive in their pursuit of the Premier League title this year, overcoming the Red Devils by a sensational 6-1 scoreline at Old Trafford in the process.