Sarri’s last stand against swashbuckling City

Manchester City and Chelsea will meet for the very first time in a major cup final on Sunday when two of the most successful sides of the last decade of English football face-off for the Football League Cup.

This will be the fourth meeting between the two sides this season, the most recent of which was an embarrassing 6-0 defeat for the Blues at the Etihad Stadium. That result, coupled with several other below-par efforts, has left Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri on the brink of the abyss. However, a piece of silverware would go a long way to erasing all of the Londoners issues to this point.

Sarri seeks to break cup duck

This will be Sarri’s first-ever major cup final as a manager and could well be his last in Chelsea colours, if reports are to be believed of his expected sacking should his side lose at Wembley on Sunday.

Having started so well following his appointment at Stamford Bridge in the summer, it has all unraveled for the west London outfit since the start of 2019. It hasn’t just been the fact they have lost those games, but rather the manner of the defeats that has damaged Sarri’s position, going down 4-0 at Bournemouth, while they were well beaten by Manchester United in the FA Cup fifth round on Monday.

However, it is the 6-0 thrashing by City that stands out, Chelsea’s heaviest defeat since 1991. The Citizens were ruthless that day, Sergio Aguero helping himself to a hat-trick, and based on that result it is no surprise to see City as the 1.54 favourites to win the League Cup final in 90 minutes.

Strangely, given the 6-0 scoreline, Chelsea had their chances in that game, Gonzalo Higuain and Willian both going close. They also hold a victory over City this season, beating them 2-0 at Stamford Bridge back in December. Given the quality of Sarri’s squad, the massive 5.30 on offer for a Chelsea win could be worth a small wager.

City League Cup kings

No side has won more trophies since the start of the decade than City and Chelsea, collecting an impressive 14 major honours between them. The League Cup has been a particular source of joy for City, winning three of the last five finals, including last year’s showpiece.

The 3-0 victory over Arsenal last February was Pep Guardiola’s 10th cup final in 11 appearances, while overall the Spaniard has an impressive 20 major honours as a coach.

His side are chasing the quadruple this season and kept up their pursuit with a 3-2 win at Schalke in the Champions League on Wednesday. That made it 13 wins from their last 14 matches, scoring two or more in 12 of those victories.

City’s penchant for goals, coupled with League Cup finals usually being high-scoring affairs, makes over 2.5 goals at 1.71 worth looking at. That particular bet has landed in 12 of the last 15 League Cup finals.

League Cup to De Bruyne liking

Kevin de Bruyne could play a large part in City maintaining their scoring streak having shown a fondness for the League Cup in the past. Since signing for the Etihad Stadium outfit in 2015, the Belgium international has scored more goals than anyone else in the competition.

Two of his nine goals have come in this season’s League Cup and although he’s yet to score in a final, he is worth considering at 4.60 to score anytime.

The favourite to net anytime on Sunday is Aguero at 1.71 and the Argentine has certainly enjoyed his previous clashes with Chelsea. City’s all-time leading scorer has netted more times against the Blues than nearly anyone else in his career, bagging 15 times against the Londoners.

However, his record in cup finals isn’t the best. Aguero had failed to net in his previous five finals before scoring against Arsenal last season.