Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City will be hoping that this trip to Wembley will be a lot better than the most recent one, last week. What was expected to be built up as a Pep vs Jose Mourinho final, is now no longer, as the Tottenham Hotspur boss was sacked earlier on in the week, Ryan Mason replaced him as interim head coach.
City have very much made the Carabao Cup their own competition since the arrival of Pep Guardiola. The Spaniard has won the competition three times in a row and he and his players will be looking to extend their reign to four years as Kings of the Carabao.
In the three finals, they have won under Pep, they have beaten Spurs’ fellow London sides, Arsenal 3-0 in 17/18, Chelsea on penalties after a goalless draw in 18/19, and then Midlands side Aston Villa, 2-1, last year. Spurs will have their work cut out for them if they want to dethrone the Sky Blues, as they have only conceded one goal in three finals. Adding to that impressive defensive record, Ruben Dias and co have only conceded two goals on their route to the final, while also scoring an impressive 11 goals, nine of which came against Premier League sides.
Pep Guardiola has won all three of his Carabao Cup finals with Manchester City and hasn't lost in the competition since October 2016 (A 1-0 loss to Manchester United.)
Referee: Paul Tierney
Assistant Referees: Lee Betts and Constantine Haztidakis
Fourth Official: Peter Bankes
VAR: Andre Marriner
Assistant VAR: Adrian Holmes
Coincidently, Paul Tierney's last Manchester City appointment was the Premier League fixture against Spurs, where Pep Guardiola's side ran out 3-0 winners courtesy of a Rodri penalty and Ilkay Gundogan brace.
Head to Head:
City go into this game with an unpleasant record against their opposition in recent times, having only won one of their previous four meetings. However, before that, they had a very impressive record against the London club, having gone unbeaten in the seven games beforehand.
The history books have this fixture near as even as possible, with City winning 64 games, while they have been on the losing end a total of 63 times, with both sides taking a share of the spoils on 36 occasions.
City have faced AFC Bournemouth, Burnley, Arsenal, and Manchester United so far, so the Blue side of Manchester have had a fairly tough run to the final. So, Spurs not only have to stop a City side that have scored two or more goals in every Carabao Cup fixture this season, but they also must find a way to penetrate their defence, without Harry Kane. The 27-year-old, who has been heavily linked with a move to City this summer, has been ruled out of Sunday’s final.
John Stones, one of the goal scorers in the semi-final at Old Trafford, is suspended for the final after receiving a straight red card against Aston Villa midweek. Guardiola confirmed that Zack Steffen will be the starting goalkeeper, despite his poor positioning for the Chelsea goal, which resulted in fans questioning whether he should be trusted for the final.
In contrast, the Citizens received two massive boosts, as the City boss confirmed that both Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero trained with the team ahead of this fixture. Will Aguero get his last chance of a farewell Wembley goal?
Sergio Aguero scored in the 2018 showpiece, vs Arsenal, last year's final, vs Aston Villa, and the Argentine is back fit to face Tottenham. Can he haunt his opposition at Wembley again?
It seems every time it comes to doing the predicted XI we must bear in mind that there is a tough fixture right around the corner, but in this instance, they don’t get much tougher than PSG away in the Champions League semi-final. Will Guardiola risk De Bruyne or will he save the Belgian for Paris Saint-Germain? One thing we do know is that Guardiola cannot risk playing all of his out-of-form players just to make them happy, because as we’ve seen against Leeds and Chelsea, it doesn’t tend to end well. Phil Foden has been the star of City’s Carabao Cup so far, after getting a goal and an assist against Bournemouth and a fantastic goal against Arsenal topped off with an assist for his side’s final goal.
Predicted XI: Steffen, Cancelo, Dias, Laporte, Zinchenko;, Rodri, Bernardo, Gundogan, Mahrez, Jesus, Foden
Score prediction: Manchester City 2-0 Tottenham (Foden, Bernardo)