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.

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