We are into the last 4 weeks of the 20/21 season, and there are a lot of trophies to be won. However, there have often been unpredictable finals and this Sunday we might have one more as Manchester City face Tottenham Hotspur in the Carabao Cup final.
Two teams from the big six, however, both on very opposite ends of the spectrum. While Manchester City’s next game after the final on Sunday is a Champions League semi-final, Tottenham’s next order of business is securing at least a Europa League spot and appointing a new manager for next season.
City, who won the competition last year as well, faced a tame Leicester City in the final, however, this time around, they will be facing a far trickier game against Spurs.
Pep Guardiola, to win it for a 4th successive year?
The penultimate Champions of England, Manchester City face an unpredictable Spurs side on Sunday, however, Guardiola will have all the answers, like he always does.
Often called out by critics as an ‘overthinker’, Manchester City’s record in the Carabao Cup final shows that Guardiola’s management in finals is by far the best when compared to his peers. This is because Guardiola and his team are built from a different mould.
A two-legged tie has a lot of unpredictability due to the element of away goals. Guardiola understands this, courtesy of which his cautious attitude causes him to overthink. However, in a final, in a one-off game, Guardiola trusts his players and believes that his side is the best team on the pitch and nobody are better than them on the day.
However, Kevin De Bruyne, who has been City’s best player this season faces a late fitness test ahead of the game on Sunday as he still has not recovered from the knock he faced against Chelsea a week ago. Similarly, Kun Aguero’s match fitness also needs to be evaluated before the final. While both players trained on Thursday, it was Aguero’s first training session in two weeks and it would be hard for him to recover by Sunday, but the Argentinian will be determined to make the squad, as this could be Aguero’s last final in a City shirt.
John Stones, who has looked shaky at the back in recent weeks will need to get back into form as one of Laporte or Dias will surely be benched for the game, as City face PSG in midweek.
Apart from that, City have a fully functioning squad who are ready to claim their 4th successive Carabao Cup trophy and Guardiola will love nothing more than winning a trophy before going into a daunting Champions League semi-final against Paris Saint Germain on Wednesday.
Will Tottenham end their 13-year trophy drought on Sunday?
No Mourinho, no game-plan and possibly no Harry Kane for Sunday. How are Tottenham going to beat the odds and come out victorious against a relentless Guardiola side on Sunday?
These are just some of the problems and questions Ryan Mason might be facing in the build-up to the game, but with nothing to lose, Tottenham Hotspur could just turn the tide on Sunday.
A week ago, Harry Kane was scoring goals for fun and Mourinho was ready for the final and the expectations were high. However, in the past 5-6 days, a lot has gone down at the club and Ryan Mason, who is the interim manager for the rest of the season finds himself in an unfavourable yet favourable tie.
Mason’s first game-in-charge against Southampton showed an irregular fluidity in Tottenham’s play and two people who were influential on the night in Son and Gareth Bale will be the people Ryan Mason will be depending on for the game on Sunday.
The duo have the ability to turn games on their head and single-handedly change results in a matter of moments. Moreover, Gareth Bale has a habit of scoring in finals and he’ll surely be hoping to continue that record on the weekend.
While Harry Kane has not been ruled out for the game, Ryan Mason is optimistic and hopes that he can have Tottenham’s talisman back for the weekend for their first domestic cup final since 2015. When asked about what Kane’s chances were of featuring on Sunday, Mason said: “I’m not really sure. It’s a case of taking it hour by hour now. So the days are obviously running out.”
Matt Doherty trained in the week and should make the squad to Wembley while Ben Davies continues to remain unavailable due to his calf injury. If Kane does make the squad, Ryan Mason will like his chances of winning on Sunday a lot more, however, based on what has been said, it will be a miracle if Kane even plays a minor role against City.
Ryan Mason could become an instant hero at the club if delivers a title a week into the job, however, he will have to earn it as Manchester City will be at their utmost best on the weekend, as they have been all season.
Tottenham Hotspur: Hugo Lloris- Serge Aurier; Toby Alderweireld; Eric Dier; Sergio Reguilon- Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Moussa Sissoko; Tanguy Ndombele- Heung-min Son; Lucas Moura; Gareth Bale.
Manchester City: Ederson- Kyle Walker; John Stones; Ruben Dias; Oleksandr Zincehnko-Rodri; Ilkay Gundogan; Bernardo Silva- Riyadh Mahrez; Gabriel Jesus; Phil Foden.