Manchester City can win the Carabao Cup for the third successive season this afternoon when they take on Aston Villa in this year’s final at Wembley.
City have enjoyed plenty of success in this competition under Pep Guardiola, and have beaten Preston, Southampton, Oxford and Manchester United (over two legs) to reach the final. They beat Chelsea on penalties in last year’s final, after a comfortable victory over Arsenal in 2018.
Aymeric Laporte is expected to be absent for today’s clash after picking up an injury at Real Madrid, but the Frenchman travelled to London yesterday with the rest of the squad.
City tend to take every senior squad member to Wembley for major finals, explaining his inclusion. Leroy Sane didn’t travel, but is likely to have remained in London after playing for the U23s at Arsenal on Friday.
Manchester City vs Aston Villa Preview
It’s been a season full of challenges for both of these two clubs, with Villa unlikely finalists amidst a relegation battle while City have watched on as a rampant Liverpool side have all but clinched their Premier League crown and broken records aplenty.
However, one of these two will change the narrative on Sunday when the first major silverware of 2020—the Carabao Cup—comes up for grabs.
City are the overwhelming favourites, not least because of their sensational performance in midweek, as they came from behind to defeat Real Madrid 2-1 at the Bernabeu and take control of their Champions League tie.
Isco capitalised on some slack defending to put Madrid ahead but a Gabriel Jesus header and a penalty from Kevin De Bruyne left the away side in the driver’s seat ahead of the second leg.
It would have been an injustice had City failed to secure a result, having looked comfortable throughout.
Credit must go to Pep Guardiola, who gambled with his personnel and approach, and still edged possession, took more shots and had more shots on target.
Manchester City vs Aston Villa Prediction
How can we not look beyond City for this one?
They were excellent in midweek, have fearsome strength in depth going forward, and have a magnificent track record in knockout competitions.
The manner in which they eviscerated Watford in last year’s FA Cup final should cause concern for the Midlanders, while even Laporte’s injury setback shouldn’t slow them down too much.
Villa’s recent form has been miserable, and it would take a magnificent reversal of fortunes for them to keep the contest alive into the second half, let alone avoid defeat in 90 minutes.