City Aim To Add The Carabao Cup To Their Soon-To-Be-Delivered Premier League While United Need To Hold On To Second Place

Posted: February 24, 2018 in Arsenal, Carabao Cup, Chelsea, Football, Liverpool, Managers, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League
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Carabao Cup

The first trophy of the season is officially up for grabs on Sunday. Well, it is if you are Arsenal or Manchester City.

In City’s case, it could be the first one of three and, in the case of Stubborn Old Man, it is a measure of how the mighty have fallen.

He is now not only competing in, but trying to win, the Europa League and so has gone, in the last two seasons, from serial Champion’s League participant and FA Cup winner, to a ‘B’ grade struggler needing to win Big Vase to regain entry to Big Cup. As we said, how the mighty have fallen.

The disturbing point of the mess currently surrounding Arsenal, is the fact that Wenger still considers himself good enough to manage this once-great club.


Arséne Wenger – Proven, consistent success in the FA Cup but little else

Anyway, enough of the negative narrative. Wenger is, occasionally, good enough to win a one-off game against one of the top teams, unless it happens to be Bayern Münich. He has beaten Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool in the not-too-distant past and his last memorable victory against Chelsea was in last year’s FA Cup final.

So he knows how to win a trophy once he reaches the final and he has an excellent record at that stage, particularly in the FA Cup.

It’s just a shame that he is now out of that competition and his record, therefore, is meaningless as far as this trophy goes.

Manchester City will go into Sunday’s game buoyed by defeat, if that is possible. Having just been knocked out of the FA Cup by a Wigan team who mustered two shots at goal during the whole ninety minutes, one of which was on target and was responsible for the winning goal, they will feel aggrieved that they are not still in England’s premier cup competition.

Still, they only have themselves to blame. At least Wigan were good enough to score from one of their chances whereas City were not despite having considerably more of them than their opponents.

So the dream of the quadruple is over and maybe the City fans and players can return to earth. They can still win a treble although it will not be comparable with that of Manchester United simply because it would not include the FA Cup.


Pep Guardiola – Looking to add the trophies his football has deserved

It would still, however, be a remarkable achievement. Guardiola is still only in his second year of management in the Premier League and many “experts” thought he would fail in England, particularly after a poor and trophy-less first season.

He looks like he will more than make up for his drought by winning two or three this season, starting with the Carabao Cup.

Meanwhile, at Old Trafford…..

Prior to the big kick-off at Wembley there is a little Premier League game happening at Old Trafford. José Mourinho’s long-awaited reunion with Antonio Conte post wafflegate will, no doubt, peter out into nothing at all and, hopefully, all the talking will be done by the players on the pitch.

Chelsea seem to have found some form recently and were a little unlucky not to beat Barcelona in their midweek Champion’s League encounter at Stamford Bridge.

United fans will be hoping that the team which turns up in Manchester is the same one which lost to Bournemouth and Watford in pretty quick succession whilst Antonio Conte will hope he can continue his decent run against the top teams.

As an aside, it must be so frustrating to these top managers that their multi-million pound teams can find it in themselves to beat opponents in the top six, then lose to opponents in the bottom six. With the exception of Pep Guardiola, this has happened to every one of the other five at least once this season.

José Mourinho will, of course, have a game plan to counter any of the threats posed by Chelsea and it is to be hoped that he can get Romelu Lukaku to pose a threat at the other end, something the Belgian has been accused of lacking when it comes to meeting the bigger teams.

The people in the know are calling this one as a draw because United are hard to beat at Old Trafford and Chelsea have been going through a sticky patch.


Paul Pogba – Needs to find some consistency

Now that any differences between Paul Pogba and José Mourinho appear to have been settled, temporarily at least, a strong United performance could and should be expected.

This is a game Manchester United need to win. Not to retain any hope of catching City, that has gone. No, they need to stretch the gap between themselves and Chelsea and consolidate second place.

It is now a matte of pride.


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