This weekend is the first big final of the 2018-2019 football season in England as Manchester City, still active in all four competitions they entered this season, take on Chelsea in the final of the Football League Cup, or as it is known through sponsorship, the Carabao Cup.

City come into the game at the top of the Premier League and having already claimed the first piece of silverware available this season with victory over their opponents today at Wembley back in August in the Community Shield. Could Pep Guardiola’s team be on their way to a potential five-trophy haul this season, in what would be one of the most stunning performances ever by an English team?

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With two of the top six going at each other at Wembley on Sunday, it should make for an exciting game especially given the backdrop of the meeting. A couple of weeks back City avenged a 2-0 defeat to Chelsea in December by thumping Mauricio Sarri’s team 6-0 at the Etihad Stadium, a result which, amongst others, has piled the pressure on Sarri ahead of this game. Can he stop the City express from rolling them over again, or will City’s pace, power and skill once again take them to another trophy?

Lets take a closer look at each team before we give you our tips on how we see the game going.

Carabao Cup Final

Chelsea Preview

How Chelsea Reached Wembley

  • Third Round – v Liverpool (A) – W 2-1 (Palmieri 79, Hazard 85)
  • Fourth Round – v Derby County (H) – W 3-2 (Tomori og 5, Keogh og 21, Fabregas 41)
  • Quarterfinal – v Bournemouth (H) – W 1-0 (Hazard 84)
  • Semifinal 1st Leg – v Tottenham (A) – L 0-1
  • Semifinal 2nd Leg – v Tottenham (H) – W 2-1 (Kante 27, Hazard 38) 2-2 on aggregate *Chelsea won 4-2 on penalties

It’s fair to say Chelsea have had by far the more difficult route to Wembley of the two teams, overcoming three Premier League sides, two inside the top six, in Liverpool, Bournemouth and then Tottenham over two legs in the semifinal, as well as high-flying Championship side Derby, to reach the final.

Eden Hazard has been their main man, netting three goals in the tournament so far but it is notable that no other Chelsea striker has managed to find the net in this competition, with their other goals coming either by way of own goals, or from midfielders and one from a defender.

Chelsea’s progress was solid rather than spectacular and they’ll need to find some of the spirit that saw them beat Spurs and defeat Liverpool at Anfield if they are to pull off an upset at Wembley on Sunday afternoon.

Probable Chelsea Team

  • GK – Arrizabalaga
  • Dr – Azpilicueta
  • Dl – Alonso
  • Dc – Rudiger
  • Dc – Luiz
  • DMc – Jorginho
  • Mc – Kante
  • Mc – Kovacic
  • AMl – Hazard
  • AMr – Pedro
  • Ac – Higuain

I can’t see Chelsea making too many changes for this game as Sarri seems set on playing his 4-3-3 formation with Jorginho at the heart of the team. His biggest decision is likely whether Kovacic or Barkley starts in midfield with the more defensive minded Kovacic likely to get the nod. Willian, Hudson-Odoi and Giroud will likely only get their chance from the bench.

How can Chelsea win?

Chelsea need to defend far better than they have in recent games, especially in wider areas where City’s pacier players are. Their defending once they lose the ball must also improve significantly and they need to pressure the player on the ball far more. Then they need their top players, notably Hazard and Higuain, to take the chances that they create.

Manchester City Preview

How Manchester City Reached Wembley

  • Third Round – v Oxford United (A) – W 3-0 (Jesus 36, Mahrez 78, Foden 90+2)
  • Fourth Round – v Fulham (H) – W 2-0 (Diaz 18,65)
  • Quarterfinal – v Leicester (A) – D 1-1 (De Bruyne 14) *Man City won 3-1 on penalties
  • Semifinal 1st Leg – v Burton Albion (H) – W 9-0 (De Bruyne 5, Jesus 30,34,57,65, Zinchenko 37, Foden 62, Walker 70, Mahrez 83)
  • Semifinal 2nd Leg – v Burton Albion (A) – W 1-0 (Aguero 26) *Man City won 10-0 on aggregate

The game with Leicester City apart, which City scraped through on penalties, it is fair to say that Pep Guardiola’s team have had a relatively simple route into the final. They have faced two League One opponents in Oxford and Burton Albion, bottom of the Premier League Fulham and Leicester en-route to the final, scoring plenty of goals in the process.

Gabriel Jesus, chiefly due to the four goals he scored against Burton in the first leg of the semifinal, has amassed aa high of five goals in the tournament for City with several other players netting one or two goals apiece.

Other than being pushed hard by Leicester City, Manchester City have made easy progress through each stage of the tournament and their current form has them ranked as the clear favourites to win the final.

Probable Manchester City Team

  • Gk – Ederson
  • Dr – Walker
  • Dl – Mendy
  • Dc – Laporte
  • Dc – Stones
  • DMc – Fernandinho
  • Mc – Silva.D
  • Mc – Silva.B
  • AMl – Sane
  • AMr – Sterling
  • Ac – Aguero

Pep Guardiola could name any number of changes to this team with the likes of de Bruyne, Jesus, Danilo, Gundogan and Zinchenko all able to step into the side if required, however with it being a final, I feel he will stick to what is arguably his strongest team.

One tactical change could be Fernandinho moving into central defence, allowing either Gundogan or de Bruyne to come into midfield, with Mendy, if he is not fit, moving out of the team and Laporte moving to left back.

How can Man City win?

Quite simply, if City produce the form they have been showing over the majority of their performanes in the last few weeks, then they should win the game at a canter. The question is whether Chelsea can stop them and the signs are few that the Londoners will be able to do that. However, they did back in December in the home game in the Premier League and that may well be Pep Guardiola’s only worry heading into the game.

Our tips for the Carabao Cup Final

Outlined below are the three big bets we are going to back for the Carabao Cup Final, together with the odds as provided by bet365 Sport.

  • Full Time Result – Manchester City to win – 4/7
  • Correct Score – Chelsea 1-2 Manchester City – 7/1
  • Anytime Goalscorer – Bernardo Silva (Man City) – 7/2