Manchester City take on Tottenham Hotspur for the first piece of silverware this season in what has the feel of a David v Goliath encounter at Wembley.
That is largely down to the fact that Ryan Mason will be in the Spurs dugout, the 29-year-old having taken charge of just one game previously after being installed as interim boss following the departure of Jose Mourinho.
Opposing him will of course be one of the heavyweights of the coaching world, Pep Guardiola, who has won pretty much everything the game has to offer, and will be looking to guide City to their fourth successive win in this competition, their sixth in the last eight years and eighth overall.
Tottenham may be considered one of the “Big Six” in England but this perception is hardly reflected in their trophy cabinet as they are searching for their first silverware since beating Chelsea in the EFL Cup final in 2008, their only trophy of the last 30 years.
They have, sort of, been threatening to win again, having reached the Champions League final in 2019 as well as finishing in the top four, having been a title challenger for a while, but they are hardly in the best of form, having parted company with their manager last week.
There is no surprise to see City installed as favourites at
5/11 to win at Wembley, given the fact they are the best team in England right now, and have made the EFL Cup their own in recent years.
Defensive Frailty Offers Spurs Some Hope
What may offer some encouragement for the supporters of the underdog is City’s recent fallibility at the back, with Guardiola’s men having conceded in each of their last five games, which includes the ten men of Leeds bagging twice in a 2-1 win at the Etihad.
That was one of two defeats in the current run, with the other also coming at Wembley when Chelsea edged to a 1-0 success in the FA Cup semi-finals last weekend.
There is also the matter of a Champions League semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain coming up, which may be a rather big distraction for the men in blue as they seek a first Champions League success.
However, despite such “problems”, City still have both the best defensive and scoring record in the Premier League, while they have a squad capable of coping with heavy demands across a number of fronts.
Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero have both been passed fit to play at Wembley and there are still many factors pointing in City’s favour.
Spurs will expect Harry Kane to feature despite a recent ankle knock, which of course would be a massive boost, but their trophy drought may still continue this afternoon.
The North Londoners have had a fair recent success over City in recent years, winning the home league fixture in November 2-0, but Guardiola’s men eased to a revenge success at the Etihad and look to have the upper hand.
If they get to a final, City tend to win it but they might have to do it the hard way this time, with a win and both teams to score a tempting
*All odds correct at time of writing