The Carabao Cup Final isn’t the only thing at stake between Manchester City and Chelsea this afternoon. Maurizio Sarri’s job is reportedly on the line too.
The Blues boss has seen Sarri-ball hit a sorry wall in recent weeks following embarrassing defeats to AFC Bournemouth, Manchester United and today’s opponents Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola’s men strolled to a 6-0 win at the Etihad Stadium a fortnight ago. A defeat of any kind here would push his Italian counterpart further towards the Stamford Bridge exit door.
Can City inflict further pain and claim a fourth Carabao Cup crown in six years? Or will the West Londoners come out fighting for their manager at Wembley?
City have the pedigree, the form and the players to do some serious damage this afternoon. That’s why our traders have them down as the 4/7 favourites.
Chelsea will need to show much more resolve than they did in Manchester two weeks ago if they’re to win inside 90 minutes at 17/4.
A draw certainly isn’t beyond the realms of possibility. Sarri’s men did beat the Sky Blues at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season, and are 3/1 to send this one to penalties.
Chelsea’s midfield did a disappearing act at the Etihad a fortnight ago. The Blues were 4-0 down inside 25 minutes after failing to establish themselves on the contest.
The trio of Jorginho, Ross Barkley and N’Golo Kante will need to move the ball quicker and close down their opponents faster if they’re to stand any chance at Wembley.
Otherwise the likes of Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero will have a field day.
That being said, the Blues did look dangerous on their rare forays forward in the league encounter earlier in the month. Gonzalo Higuain, in particular, caused City plenty of problems.
Sarri will need to pick and choose when his team attacks in North London, otherwise he risks his side getting picked off in devastating fashion on the counter-attack.
Aguero has been a constant pain in Chelsea’s backside down the years. His hat-trick a fortnight ago made it 10 goals in seven matches against the Blues and 15 for his career.
Chelsea will look towards Higuain, who has been dangerous despite only scoring against Huddersfield Town so far. The French-born forward is 9/4 anytime.
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