Carabao Cup 2018-19: Manchester City hungry for more Wembley success in blockbuster final against Chelsea
Pep Guardiola and Manchester City will return to Wembley for a fifth time since last February ahead of their Carabao Cup final showdown against a Chelsea side severely under pressure. In those five visits to England’s most historic stadium, City have remarkably beaten their opponent on each occasion.
The League Cup triumph against Arsenal last season kicked off City’s run of historic Wembley wins. The 3-1 victory against Tottenham in April eventually turned out to be the day City clinched the title after rivals United succumbed to defeat against West Bromwich Albion.
The Community Shield final in early August saw City dispatch Chelsea 2-0 in Maurizio Sarri’s first game in charge of the Blues. City played the Spurs again in October, but this time on a dreadful Wembley pitch due to a closely-scheduled NFL game. Guardiola’s men did eventually edge the North Londoners, with Riyad Mahrez getting the only goal of the match.
Chelsea have also enjoyed their short trips to the new Wembley stadium, having won an astonishing five FA Cups in the last decade. The Blues have also won the League Cup once in that period of time.
Both Manchester City and Chelsea, in recent seasons, have established themselves as powerhouses of English football - eclipsing the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal. But fresh in Sarri’s memory will be the 6-0 annihilation they suffered at the Etihad less than a fortnight ago.
Sergio Aguero and Co ran riot on what was a humiliating day for the Italian boss. The media, in recent days, has speculated Sarri’s departure after Chelsea’s collapse to sixth in the Premier League table and the defeat to Manchester United which resulted in their elimination from the FA Cup.
A cup final victory on Sunday against the in-form Manchester City will surely calm a few nerves at Stamford Bridge, especially after the fans mocked their manager’s playing style in the last 10 minutes of the FA Cup clash.
Both Chelsea and Manchester City enjoyed their mid-week European outings with impressive wins against Malmö and Schalke respectively. While Chelsea comfortably breezed past the Swedish side, Guardiola’s men made it a little difficult for themselves after surrendering two penalties and a man before a late resurgence from former-Schalke man Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling ensured a one-goal advantage going into the second leg.
The focus shifts to the big stage on Sunday before the two clubs resume their respective Premier League pursuits of a title and a top-four finish. "Serial winner" Guardiola will want to add another trophy to his already illustrious cabinet, while Sarri will hunt for his first-ever major trophy in top-flight football.
The Home of Football awaits the heavyweight clash of the two most successful English clubs of the last decade. And with City already progressing to the quarterfinals of the FA Cup last week, we might see them back in London very soon.