Carabao Cup final

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The Breakdown

The Breakdown: Carabao Cup final preview

We are back in Carabao Cup action on Sunday when we face Manchester City in the final at Wembley Stadium.

Ahead of the match, tactical expert Michael Cox and former Gunner Adrian Clarke examine our opponents in more detail.


Pep Guardiola is aiming to win his first trophy with Manchester City this weekend, although he is almost certain to win the Premier League title later this season. The Spaniard has City playing an exciting, attack-minded brand of football with plenty of movement in forward positions and an aggressive offside line at the back.


Guardiola has largely stuck to a 4-3-3 system this season, with Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva pushing forward from central midfield positions to effectively form a front five with the attacking trio, likely to be Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling either side of Sergio Aguero. Sometimes the full-backs push inside to take up more central positions alongside Fernandinho, rather than overlapping.


The creativity of De Bruyne and Silva means City simply create an incredible number of chances, and they’ve also proved very effective at playing an ‘extra’ pass to leave a team-mate with an open goal from point-blank range. 


De Bruyne is the man who really gets City playing. He can shoot from long range and play clever through-balls, but is also capable of dangerous crosses from ‘narrow’ right-sided positions, curled in behind the opposition defence. He must be watched carefully.


Benjamin Mendy’s long-term injury means City are short of options at left-back, and Fabian Delph’s dismissal in the shock 1-0 defeat at Wigan on Monday means he’s suspended here. Danilo, very much a right-footed full-back, will deputise.

The Breakdown

Analysis: Where we can hurt City at Wembley

We face free-scoring Manchester City in the final of the Carabao Cup at Wembley on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola's side have been installed as the pre-match favourites - but how can we hurt them at Wembley?

In a Breakdown special, Adrian Clarke analyses our opponents in detail and also focuses on:

  • The need for us to bypass the City press
  • How our attacking set-pieces have improved
  • The importance of stopping Sergio Aguero
  • The key duels: Sane v Bellerin and De Bruyne v Ozil

Team news

Cup final team news: Ozil, Iwobi and Ramsey

Arsene Wenger is likely to make a number of changes for Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Manchester City after resting some key men against Ostersunds.

Alex Lacazette is unavailable and Henrikh Mkhitaryan is ineligible, and there were question marks over a few players when Arsene Wenger faced the media on Friday.

Here’s the very latest:

on the main team news…
From Thursday night, we don’t know what kind of state Alex Iwobi is in, for example. We will know that today and tomorrow. But overall, we have no injuries from last night. Some players were rested, they are alright. After that, I have to make a decision on Aaron Ramsey on Saturday. He looks OK, but we will know more about it tomorrow.

on Mesut Ozil…
I’ll see him this morning. He had a good session yesterday, that he absorbed well. So we have to see how he responds to it today. But I think he will be alright. You want all your best players available and, of course, he is an important player for us.


'Wembley means... that winning feeling'

The Carabao Cup final is almost upon us - and, with the final drawing ever closer, we challenged Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere, Alex Iwobi and Aaron Ramsey to a cup final version of word association.

Check out how they got on by pressing the 'play' button above.


First team train ahead of Carabao Cup final

The boys were hard at work at London Colney on Saturday as they prepare for the Carabao Cup final.

We will face Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on Sunday as we look to lift the trophy for the third time.

Our club photographer was at our final training session and sent back these images.


Watch our best goals against Man City at Wembley

We’re heading back to Wembley this weekend to take on Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final.

We’ve faced the Citizens at the national stadium twice in the past four seasons, and have scored some memorable goals too. 

But which of these was our best strike? Click ‘Play’ on the video above and then don’t forget to vote in our poll below:


Ramsey - We know how to win at Wembley

When it comes to playing at Wembley, Aaron Ramsey is something of a specialist.

In fact, our No 8 has made eight appearances for us at the national stadium, and we’ve won all of those matches.

Ramsey has scored two Emirates FA Cup-winning goals and was also on target when we won the 2014 Community Shield against Manchester City.

“We’ve got another final now on Sunday, so that’s something that I’m going to really look forward to,” Ramsey told Arsenal Player.

“We’re going back to Wembley again and you want something to show for every season. This is an opportunity to definitely do that.

“We know we’re going to be up against a great team but they have their weaknesses and we’re more than capable of beating them if we get our gameplan right and perform on the day. 

“There’s a lot more to come from me and hopefully this will be the first of more.”


Ospina - My favourite moment at Wembley

It is a moment that is often forgotten in the emotion of winning last season's Emirates FA Cup - but not by David Ospina.

With just minutes left of the final against Chelsea, the Colombian goalkeeper made a fine save to deny Diego Costa from close range and help us preserve our lead.

"That was really key moment in the game," Ospina told Arsenal Player. "We were leading 2-1 at that point and the game was about to end. 

"We knew Chelsea were a good side and had quality players. At any minute they could change the course of the game. With that save I helped the team stay ahead and secure victory."

Ospina is expected to start Sunday's Carabao Cup final against Manchester City and the Colombian is looking forward to the challenge.

"They have a great coach and great players," he said. "They do everything really well and have excellent ideas. 

"They know exactly what they want to do. As opponents we need to challenge that with our game, be strong at the back and push forward, try to seize every opportunity we can."


‘We’re the underdogs but we have to believe’

Arsene Wenger speaks to his team during the 2017 FA Cup semi-final

Are we underdogs on Sunday? A quick glance at the Premier League table gives a pretty conclusive answer.

Manchester City are 27 points ahead of us and, unless there’s a major collapse between now and May, they will be crowned as champions.

But the Emirates FA Cup is out of City’s reach after a surprise defeat to Wigan Athletic on Monday, and Arsene Wenger believes we can administer another shock in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final.

“Because Manchester City are dominating the league, that is in the head of everybody and so maybe we are more underdogs than in the FA Cup semi-final last year,” said Wenger.

“So I agree that we are maybe underdogs, but we have to believe in our quality. The history, the fact we have done it before [against Man City last year], shows you ‘why not do it again?’.

“You must have enough belief to think you can do it, that on the day you manage to turn up with the right spirit and the right mentality, the right belief.

“In the final, everyone says you have to be motivated, but it is as well about finding the right balance between focus, motivation and being relaxed enough to play our game.

“That will be the target again: to have a belief but as well to find that right balance.”


Follow the Carabao Cup final LIVE on

Matchday Show - Manchester City (n)

We're back at Wembley Stadium on Sunday - but if you're not going to the game, don't worry, you can follow it live with us.

Tune in to from 4pm (UK time) for the following:

  • Matchday Show, with live build-up from 4pm (UK time) and audio commentary from 4.30pm (UK time)
  • Live text commentary - featuring minute-by-minute updates and insights from our fans on Twitter
  • A short goals clip and full match highlights will be available from midnight on Sunday

It's all free with Digital Membership - and remember, you can listen on the Arsenal App too!



‘Walking out at Wembley is the best feeling’

Nacho Monreal and Danny Welbeck have walked out at Wembley several times before, but they will still be feeling that same nervous buzz ahead of Sunday's Carabao Cup final against Manchester City.

So what does it actually feel like to line up for a cup final? We sat down with Nacho and Danny in the build-up to this weekend's game to find out how the day unfolds, from waking up at the hotel to seeing all our passionate fans packed inside Wembley.

Click the 'Play' button on the video above to see what they said - and then don't forget to have your say in our score predictor poll below:


Mustafi - How we can beat Man City at Wembley

Shkodran Mustafi celebrates against Tottenham

Considering the records that Manchester City are setting this season, it's perhaps unsurprising that we've been installed as underdogs for Sunday's Carabao Cup final.

However, Shkodran Mustafi is certain we can beat Pep Guardiola's free-scoring side - as long as we stick to our gameplan.

"It will be a very tactical game because they are well organised and dangerous up front," he said. "They have shown their quality all season in the Premier League. 

"We need to make sure that we are compact, organised and concentrated for 90 minutes, and extra time if required. We have to play our own game when we get the ball and play as quickly as we can to find opportunity to break them down.
"Finals are always exciting and tense games. We hope that we will be the better team but we will see on the day. It’s all on the day. We had a good result against them last season in the FA Cup semi-final. We just need to show that level of performance again."


Don’t expect a scorpion kick from David Ospina

David Ospina

He’s set to start his second major cup final for us on Sunday, and it’s clear that Arsène Wenger has full faith in David Ospina.

He isn’t the first Colombian goalkeeper to line up at Wembley - compatriot Rene Higuita wowed everyone inside the stadium when he performed an outrageous scorpion kick in a friendly with England - but we’re unlikely to see anything similar from our No 13 on Sunday.

“I wouldn’t really be happy [if he tried it], no!” Wenger said. “I think that shows as well that football has changed. These kind of characters have disappeared from the game. 

“With the importance of every single result, there is less room for this kind of improvisation and more individual responsibility on the players.

“We would all agree that the quality of the game has gone up. It has gone up. This kind of distraction, yes, it is detrimental to this kind of distraction that everybody talks about. It is like there are some people have given their name to some technical movements that you would not dare to think about the possibility today. Like a Panenka in a European Championship final. 

“These kind of things, you don’t see them anymore because of the risk. The balance between creativity and the risk has become in favour of, “Let’s be cool”. The press conferences are an example of that as well. You can be less free in your talk than you were 20 years ago.”

So how does Wenger decide which of his goalkeepers will play in certain competitions?

“I tell them at the start,” he explained. “There is a competition before the first league game starts, I tell them who will start in the Premier League. If the keeper does not perform I get them in and say look you cannot play in the next game. 

“Cech has performed well. If Ospina becomes No 1, Cech will become the cup goalkeeper.”