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Feb 24, 2019 at 4.30pm UK at ​Wembley Stadium (London)
Attendance: 81,775
Chelsea
0-0
Man CityManchester City
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(aet)
Man City win 4-3 on penalties

Talking points ahead of the Carabao Cup final between Chelsea and Man City

Talking points ahead of the Carabao Cup final between Chelsea and Man City
© Reuters
Holders City will be looking to retain the title they won by beating Arsenal 3-0 in the final last year.

Holders Manchester City play Chelsea in Sunday's Carabao Cup final at Wembley. Here, Press Association Sport looks at five talking points ahead of the final.

Serial winner versus late bloomer

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri (left) and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola are friends
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri (left) and Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola are friends (Nick Potts/PA)

Pep Guardiola has won every club honour during his management career, with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City. Maurizio Sarri, 60, has never won a trophy, belatedly getting his chance at the top level with Empoli, Napoli and now Chelsea. The pair are friends – Arrigo Sacchi is a shared mentor – and share a similar, possession-based philosophy. Sarri has taken the advice of Guardiola in his first season in England, to concentrate on 14 players.

Predictable, yet totally unpredictable

Chelsea are perhaps the epitome of a cup side. They are recklessly inconsistent, but capable of beating the top teams. Sarri has stuck stubbornly to the 4-3-3 formation he favours, with Jorginho as a central playmaker and N'Golo Kante played out of position in right midfield, despite the Frenchman proving to be the best defensive midfielder in the world. Results are unpredictable. Chelsea beat City 2-0 at Stamford Bridge in December, but lost 6-0 at the Etihad Stadium on February 10.

Congested calendar

Chelsea's FA Cup defeat to Manchester United on Monday night was the first of three matches in seven days for the Blues
Chelsea's FA Cup defeat to Manchester United on Monday night was the first of three matches in seven days for the Blues (Adam Davy/PA)

City travel to Germany to face Schalke for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday night, while Chelsea face Malmo in the second leg of their Europa League  last-32 tie on Thursday night, three days after the 2-0 loss to Manchester United Monday's FA Cup tie. Guardiola has a full squad of players he can rely upon; Sarri, going by recent performances, has none. With Sarri focusing his energies on a core group and jettisoning serial achiever Gary Cahill, Premier League-winning midfielder Danny Drinkwater and others, squad strength could determine success in the cup.

An appetiser

Manchester City's Vincent Kompany celebrates with the trophy alongside team-mates after the final whistle during the Carabao Cup Final
Manchester City won the Premier League and Carabao Cup last season (Nick Potts/PA)

Since Swansea beat Bradford 5-0 to win the 2013 League Cup, only once have the competition's winners finished the season with just the one trophy. In 2014, City won the League Cup and Premier League title; it was Chelsea who did likewise in 2015; Manchester United won the League Cup and Europa League in 2017; and, City won the League Cup and Premier League in 2018. City, under Manuel Pellegrini, were the exception in 2016.

The end? The continuation?

Maurizio Sarri is under increasing pressure as Chelsea boss
Maurizio Sarri is under increasing pressure as Chelsea boss (Nigel French/PA)

It will take a dramatic turn in fortunes and results for Sarri to continue in his job. The 60-year-old's seven-month tenure started promisingly, but has featured embarrassing results which mean even victory in the League Cup might not spare him the axe. A return to the Champions League will be Chelsea's priority. For City, the League Cup is about sweeping silverware and a staging post en route to further glories domestically and in Europe.

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Eric Dier in action for Spurs on January 24, 2019
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool31237170185276
2Manchester CityMan City30242479215874
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs30201957322561
4Arsenal30186663392460
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd30177658401858
6Chelsea30176750331757
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves30128103836244
8Watford30127114244-243
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham31126134146-542
10Leicester CityLeicester31125144043-341
11Everton31117134342140
12Bournemouth31115154356-1338
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3198143140-935
14Crystal Palace3096153641-533
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2996143242-1033
16Southampton3079143450-1630
17Burnley3186173559-2430
18Cardiff CityCardiff3084182757-3028
19Fulham3145222970-4117
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield3135231857-3914

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