Even though Sunday’s match is the Carabao Cup final, it’s hard to feel energetic about it. Just two weeks ago, Chelsea faced Manchester City in the Premier League and were dismantled by the score of 6-0. But the magnitude of the match is still there. Not only is this the first chance for a trophy this season, but it would be manager Maurizio Sarri’s first trophy as a manager.
Not that the powers that be are feeling sentimental, if reports are to be believed. Reports are that if Chelsea are once again beaten, perhaps destroyed, again by Manchester City, Sarri will be sacked and replaced by an interim manager until the end of the season.
Injuries are a point of discussion for Chelsea. Kepa Arrizabalaga is suffering a hamstring injury and may not be available for Chelsea, meaning Willy Caballero would face his former team. Pedro has been suffering from a stomach virus and may miss his second consecutive match.
But Chelsea do have some momentum entering this match. A 3-0 win over Malmo and progression to the round of 16 in the Europa League was a positive sign, but it papered over the cracks that have appeared over the past month or so.
Whether any of the starting 11 from Thursday’s victory have earned a chance to start is another story, but it’s much more likely that we see the same team that suffered the heavy defeat two weeks ago.
It doesn’t help Chelsea that City were given a big scare by Schalke in the Champions League and will likely be refocused on the task at hand.
Down 2-1 at the half because of two penalties and then down a man in by the 85th minute, City snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with two goals in five minutes to give them a 3-2 win.
Any lingering complacency in the City side will likely be corrected by manager Pep Guardiola, and City will likely come out Sunday looking to prove a point.
Unless Chelsea can find the right balance to defeat City as they did back in December, this season begins to look more and more as if no trophies will be won, and it also may spell the end of Sarri’s tenure at Chelsea.