The 2017-18 season’s first silverware will be at stake when Manchester City lock horns with Arsenal FC on Sunday. After having lost out on the FA Cup, Pep Guardiola will not accept another cup defeat as they seek maximum trophies. On the other hand, after having thrashed Chelsea out of the cup in semis, the Gunners will be looking to make amends for the poor league season they are having, with some taste of silver.
While the Cityzens have won four out of their previous five league cup finals, no other team has lost this fixture more than the Gunners. Pep Guardiola has lost to Arsene Wenger just thrice out of their last 12 meetings and it will be interesting to see how the teams fare on the day.
After having picked up a red card against Wigan in the previous defeat, Fabian Delph is suspended for the final. Gabriel Jesus didn’t travel with the team last time out and will most probably miss this one too.
Pep Guardiola will field the strongest 4-3-3 lineup including big boys such as Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Agüero and Ederson. The battle lies in the midfield, where creative players like Mesut Özil will be up against Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva. One could expect the Cityzens to boss the possession and Arsenal to have their moments.
No surprise if Pep chooses his number one keeper, Ederson over Claudio Bravo for the final. His distribution and confidence just adds to City’s dominance.
Walker’s energy, determination to play up and down the pitch and strong defending should be seen at right-back.
Otamendi should return to the starting lineup, and rightfully so. He has clearly been City’s most consistent and reliable centre-back this season.
The captain should play at the heart of the defence with a hope to lift the trophy.
Danilo should replace Delph at left-back.
Kevin De Bruyne will play in the midfield. He occupies the entire middle third area and boasts of a pass success rate of over 88% in the final third.
Having made over 40 interceptions and won 134 aerial duels, Fernandinho’s solidity and perseverance in front of the back four will be seen.
The magician will play down the middle, tie a few broken knots in the midfield and smoothen the flow of the attack.
Probably the biggest plus point for Manchester City in terms of direct contributions, Raheem Sterling is to play on the right-wing. His dribbling skills, ability to stretch defences and get into key positions will come in handy.
Not at his best since returning from injury, but Sane should play on the left-wing. He is pacy, direct and is a fine finisher.
Having scored 29 goals already this season, sharpshooter Kun Agüero is all set to light up the final stage. If he finds his shooting range early on, it could be game over for Arsenal.
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