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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
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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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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool88002061424
2Manchester CityMan City85122791816
3Arsenal84311311215
4Leicester CityLeicester8422147714
5Chelsea84221814414
6Crystal Palace842288014
7Burnley8332119212
8West Ham UnitedWest Ham83321111012
9Tottenham HotspurSpurs83231412211
10Bournemouth83231313011
11Wolverhampton WanderersWolves82421111010
12Manchester UnitedMan Utd82339819
13Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd82337709
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton8233810-29
15Aston Villa8224131218
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle8224513-88
17Southampton8215815-77
18Everton8215613-77
19Norwich CityNorwich82061021-116
20Watford8035420-163

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