Arsenal v Man City
Sunday, Feb 25 – 16:30
Arsenal suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to minnows Ostersunds FK in their midweek Europa League match, but managed to progress the next round with a 4-2 aggregate score. Arsene Wenger admitted that his team severely underperformed in the Ostersunds game, but the Frenchman is expected to field a much stronger side today, with Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil both set to return for the Gunners. Arsenal beat Doncaster Rovers, Norwich City, West Ham, and Chelsea en route to the final, and will be hoping to replicate their emphatic win over Man City in the FA Cup last season.
Man City were eliminated from the FA Cup last weekend, when they lost 1-0 to Wigan Athletic. The defeat put an end to Pep Guardiola’s dream of winning the quadruple this season, but the Spaniard has a fantastic opportunity to claim his first piece of silverware as Man City manager this afternoon. Pep won 21 trophies during his stints at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, and has turned Man City into one of the best teams in world football since taking over from Manuel Pellegrini in 2016. Will 2018 be Man City’s greatest ever year? We’re about to find out.
Let’s take a look at the stats:
- Today’s match will mark Arsenal’s eighth League Cup final – they have lost five of their previous seven, winning in 1993 and 1987.
- This will be Man City’s sixth League Cup final clash, and their third over the last five seasons – they have won the competition four times, their only defeat coming in 1974.
- These two clubs have never met in a major cup final. Arsenal have defeated Man City in each of their last two games at Wembley – winning the Community Shield in 2014, and FA Cup semi-final last season.
- The Citizens have only lost one of their last five competitive matches against Arsenal (W2 D2) – beating them 3-1 in the Premier League earlier in the season.
- The Gunners have only managed to score six goals in the League Cup – no team to reach the final has ever scored fewer.
- Arsene Wenger has only managed to beat Pep Guardiola three times over the 12 competitive matches (D3 L6).
- Pep Guardiola has won six of his last seven domestic and European cup finals – his only defeat came when Real Madrid beat Barcelona in the Copa Del Rey final in 2011.
- Arsene Wenger has managed to win seven of his 10 domestic cup finals as Arsenal boss – his last two defeats coming against Chelsea (2007) and Birmingham (2011).
- Bernardo Silva (one goal, three assists) and Leroy Sane (three goals, one assist) have accounted for 50% of Man City’s goals in the League Cup this season.
- Sergio Aguero has found the back of the net in each of his last four matches against the Gunners (four goals in total).
Man City are the obvious favourites heading into today’s match, and all of the pressure will be on Pep Guardiola. The Spaniard is yet to win a trophy with Man City, and after getting knocked out of the FA Cup last weekend, fans will be expecting nothing less than a win this afternoon. For all of his faults, Arsene Wenger has a great record in English cup competitions, and this could me a much closer game than many are predicting. City have been fantastic this season, but cup finals tend to bring out the best in the Gunners. Being the underdogs will suit Arsenal, and we’re backing them to lift the cup.