Carabao Cup Final Preview – City Seek 3-in-a-Row at Wembley This Weekend

This coming Sunday, the first trophy of the Football League season will be decided at league-soccer-bet365Wembley Stadium as Manchester City seek to earn their seventh Football League Cup (known as the Carabao Cup for sponsorship reasons) in their history, as well as their third successive victory in this tournament.

Standing in their way are Dean Smith’s Aston Villa side who overcame Leicester City over two legs in their semifinal to reach their ninth final in this competition, winning it on five occasions. Only Liverpool (with 12 appearances) have had more than Villa, who share second spot in that list with Manchester United.

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Let’s now take a quick look at the history of the Football League (Carabao) Cup and then preview this weekend’s big final.

Football League Cup – History

The Football League Cup, or Carabao Cup as it is known now through sponsorship, bet365-early-soccer-payoutbegan 60 years ago in 1960 and involves the 92 teams in the Football League and Premier League. It is the third most prestigious domestic competition in English football behind the Premier League and FA Cup.

Most Successful Football League Cup Clubs

  1. Liverpool – 8 wins (4 runners up)
  2. Man City – 6 wins (1 runner up)
  3. Man Utd – 5 wins (4 runners up)
  4. Aston Villa, Chelsea – 5 wins (3 runners up)
  5. Tottenham – 4 wins (4 runners up)
  6. Nottingham Forest – 4 wins (2 runners up)
  7. Leicester City – 3 wins (2 runners up)
  8. Arsenal – 2 wins (6 runners up)
  9. Norwich City – 2 wins (2 runners up)
  10. Birmingham City – 2 wins (1 runner up)
  11. Wolves – 2 wins (0 runners up)

A number of teams have won the competition once: WBA, QPR, Middlesbrough, Leeds Utd, Stoke City, Luton Town, Sheffield Wednesday, Swindon Town, Oxford United, Blackburn Rovers and Swansea City.

Manchester City have won the trophy in four of the last six seasons (2013-14, 2015-16, 2017-18 and 2018-19). If they win it again, they will become only the second teams since Liverpool in the 1980s to win the trophy three years in a row. Liverpool achieved four wins in a row from 1981 to 1984 beating West Ham, Tottenham, Manchester United and Everton in successive seasons.

Alan Hardaker Trophy

Since 1990, the man of the match in the final has been awarded the Alan Hardaker trophy. Only three players, Ben Foster, John Terry and Vincent Kompany, have won the award twice since its inception. Bernardo Silva won the trophy for Manchester City last season. Other winners include Zlatan Ibrahimovic (2017), Samir Nasri (2014), Didier Drogba (2007), Wayne Rooney (2006), Robbie Fowler (2001) and Steve McManaman (1995).

The 2020 Football League Cup Final

Aston Villa v Manchester City

  • Venue – Wembley Stadium
  • Capacity – 90,000
  • Date – Sunday 1st March 2020
  • Kick Off – 4.30pm
  • Live on – Sky Sports

The Road to Wembley

Aston Villa

  • First Round – Bye
  • Second Round – Crewe 1-6 Aston Villa (Konsa, Hourihane 2, Davis, Guilbert, Grealish)
  • Third Round – Brighton 1-3 Aston Villa (Jota, Hourihane, Grealish)
  • Fourth Round – Aston Villa 2-1 Wolves (El Ghazi, Elmohamady)
  • Quarter Final – Aston Villa 5-0 Liverpool (Hourihane, Boyes OG, Kodjia 2, Wesley)
  • Semi Final 1st Leg – Leicester City 1-1 Aston Villa (Guilbert)
  • Semi Final 2nd Leg – Aston Villa 2-1 Leicester (Targett, Trezeguet) (Villa win 3-2 on agg)

Villa have beaten four Premier League opponents en-route to the final, although Liverpool fielded what was effectively a youth team for the quarterfinal due to the first team playing in the Club World Cup in Qatar. However good wins over Brighton, Leicester and Wolves have deservedly earned Dean Smith’s team a shot at Man City in the final.

Manchester City

  • First Round – Bye
  • Second Round – Bye
  • Third Round – Preston 0-3 Man City (Sterling, Jesus, Ledson OG)
  • Fourth Round – Man City 3-1 Southampton (Otamendi, Aguero 2)
  • Quarter Final – Oxford Utd 1-3 Man City (Cancelo, Sterling 2)
  • Semi Final 1st Leg – Man Utd 1-3 Man City (Silva, Mahrez, Pereira OG)
  • Semi Final 2nd Leg – Man City 0-1 Man Utd (City win 3-2 on aggregate)

Given a bye until the third round due to competing in European competition, City have made a good fist of defending the trophy that they have won the last two seasons. Wins over Premier League sides Southampton and Man City, allied to. comfortable wins over lower league Preston and Oxford have earned City a shot at a rare three League Cup wins in a row.

Cup Final Team News

Aston Villa

After a lacklustre performance away to Southampton at the weekend, which resulted in their third defeat in a row, Villa boss Dean Smith has threatened to change the team entirely for the final on Sunday. Whether he does that remains to be seen but the likes of Pepe Reina and Douglas in midfield could be sweating on playing, despite this I still expect Smith to name an experienced side.

Predicted Villa team – 5-4-1 – Reina, Hause, Mings, Konsa, Targett, Guilbert, Luiz, Hourihane, El Ghazi, Grealish, Samatta

Manchester City

With a game away to Real Madrid on Wednesday, City don’t have the ideal preparation for this game on Sunday. Leroy Sane may be fit for a place on the bench for this game, if Pep Guardiola decides to risk him. Other than that, City are relatively healthy heading into this game and Pep Guardiola can name what he feels is his full-strength side for the match.

Predicted City Team – 4-3-3 – Ederson, Cancelo, Mendy, Laporte, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Silva.D, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Sterling, Aguero

Our Tips

City have won the last four games between these teams 4-0, 4-0, 3-0 and most recently 6-1 at Vulla Park. However, in the League Cup the teams have met four times and Villa have three wins from those games, scoring 10 goals to Manchester City’s three.

That said, I can’t see nothing but a Man City win here and this is evidence in my tips for the game below:

  • Match Result – Manchester City to win – 1/6
  • Correct Score – Man City to win 4-1 – 14/1
  • Both Teams to Score – Yes – 6/5
  • Anytime Goalscorer – Kevin de Bruyne (Man City) – 7/4

*All odds provided are courtesy of bet365 Sport and correct as of 12.40pm on Monday 24th February.

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