Carabao Cup Final: Chelsea v Man City Tips & Betting Preview
Can Manchester City retain their Carabao Cup crown?
The Carabao Cup final is the moment you realise: we are entering the business end of the season. Manchester City is red hot favourites heading into this, keen to retain their crown for the second successive season under Pep Guardiola. Chelsea, who is a bit of a mess, will be absolutely desperate to avenge the 6-0 mauling City dished out to them a fortnight ago.
The inflexibility of Maurizio Sarri will likely be the end of him; his dis-jointed Chelsea midfield was ruthlessly picked apart and splayed open for the whole of the Etihad Stadium to see during that harrowing afternoon, and you can be sure he won’t change a thing this Monday.
It’s hard to make a case for any result other than a City win. Guardiola’s side has won four of the last five meetings between these two – including a Community Shield victory at Wembley in August – which is why I’m backing another City win.
Chelsea doesn’t have the look of a side who believe they can win anything this year. Marcos Alonso is having a dreadful time, N'Golo Kanté is being wasted and even Eden Hazard looks to have had enough; it’s becoming one of those Chelsea seasons.
Compare this with City, who came from 2-0 down away at Schalke – with ten men – to claim victory in the Champions League, and it really does tell you everything about the gulf in class (and confidence) between the two outfits.
This won’t be another 6-0, as cup finals are generally slightly cagey affairs, but it’s still a match I see City winning at somewhat of a canter.
Next up, I’m expecting City to lead at half-time.
City has led at the half-hour mark in 11 of their last 14 matches in all competitions, and it was their blisteringly strong start against Chelsea at The Etihad which sent them into shell-shock.
Sergio Aguero is scoring goals for fun these days, and Chelsea just seem so fragile right now; the iron is hot, and City will be sure to strike it.
This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise: I’m backing Aguero to score first.
The Argentine has scored first in four of City’s last eight matches, and it would be silly to overlook him considering how well he’s playing.
It’s a massive occasion in the footballing calendar, and if there’s one man who’s made for the big occasion, it’s Sergio Aguero.