The first piece of silverware of the season will be decided on Sunday as Manchester City and Arsenal clash at Wembley in the Carabao Cup Final.
Manchester City come into the game having seen their FA Cup dreams ended at the hands of Wigan Athletic in midweek.
And despite City’s dominance of the Premier League and all-round brilliant play throughout this season, Pep Guardiola admits that titles and trophies are what any club must be judged on.
“We have to lift titles to give more value to what we have done,” said the City boss.
“In the beginning, in August, we said the same that we would be judged on how many titles we win.
“In the five or six big clubs, it’s always the same, how many titles do you win? But at the same time, these eight months together what we have lived belongs to us.
“Every game we played, when we won, we were happy the day after. Of course, we’ll be judged on trophies and for the club it’s so important because it’s a club that needs to grow and grow and win titles.
“Hopefully on Sunday we will have the first one.”
Despite City being strong favourites, Arsene Wenger has firm belief that his side can match City.
“You have to have a strong belief that we can do it, be well-organised and take every opportunity to go forward and play our offensive game,” he said.
“They have so many players that you have to stop that it is better to focus on the team plan rather than on any individual.
“I have the advantage that I’ve played many finals and I know how big a day it is, Wembley is always special because the stadium is divided in two,” said Wenger.”
“It’s a special day. No matter how many finals you’ve played in your life, it’s always a special day.
“For us it’s an opportunity. We’ll play with all our regular players. We want to win it, we want our fans to go home happy.”
See below for a preview on each game, including predictions from former England, Crystal Palace and Tottenham midfielder Andy Gray, our own Football Insider Graeme Bailey and bet365’s Steve Freeth.
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Arsenal 16:30 Manchester City
TEAM NEWS: Manchester City are set to pick Danilo at left-back with first choice Benjamin Mendy still injured, and Fabian Delph suspended following his sending off against Wigan in the FA Cup. Raheem Sterling is a major injury-doubt with a muscle problem, and Bernardo Silva is ready to replace him whilst Gabriel Jesus could return from injury. Claudio Bravo will play in goal ahead of Ederson.
For Arsenal, Aaron Ramsey is set to return from injury with Santi Cazorla and Alexandre Lacazette the only injury absentees – although Henrikh Mkhitaryan is cup-tied. Like City, Arsenal will also field their number two in goal with David Ospina set to start the game.
KEY FACT: This is the first-ever meeting between these sides in a major final
MATCH ODDS: Arsenal 9/2 Draw 7/2 Man City 8/13
bet365 Pick: Man City to & Both Teams to Score @9/1
Steve Freeth of bet365 said: “There will be a whole host of punters disappointed to see Manchester City’s quest for the quadruple ended on Monday night, but those who have backed the PL, CL, EFL Cup treble at 125/1 will be cheering on Pep’s side. These two normally produce goals when they clash and that’s what punters are leaning to at this stage.”
ANDY SAYS: A good game for sure, and close but I think City will just get the better of Arsenal…1-2
GRAEME SAYS: Has to be City, they are too good at the end of the day – silverware for Pep….1-3
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