Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City defended their Carabao Cup beating Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea on Penalties at Wembley Stadium on Sunday night. 

Fans, well aware of the pedigree of the two sides in action, anticipated a high-scoring Carabao Cup final. Sadly, it didn’t quite live up to the sky-high billing, but there still was plenty of drama for us to enjoy. 

Having thrashed Chelsea 6-0 at the Etihad Stadium just a couple of weeks back, the defending champions started the match as outright favorites. Chelsea, on the other hand, were desperate not to repeat the mistakes they made a fortnight ago and focused on keeping things tight at the back. 

As anticipated, City dominated possession and looked effortless on the ball, but, thanks to Sarri’s tactical shifts, struggled to make inroads into the Chelsea box. Their passing, as always, was immaculate, and they were in charge of proceedings in the first half. Chelsea looked more than happy to soak up the pressure and play on counters. 

In the second half, Sergio Aguero hit the back of the net, only for his strike to be ruled out for offside. Ross Barkley and N’Golo Kante came close to putting the Blues ahead, but neither of the two midfielders could keep their efforts on target. 

Extra time commenced, and the teams picked up right where they left off in the second half. Chelsea, following their two decent attempts, looked a tad more confident going forward and forced the City defenders to be on their toes. Aguero and Raheem Sterling came close to scoring for the holders, but ultimately, neither of the two teams managed to find the back of the net. With a 0-0 stalemate on the scoreboard, the match went to penalties. 

Jorginho — Chelsea’s opening spot-kick taker — fumbled his effort and allowed Ederson to make a comfortable save. Leroy Sane and David Luiz also missed their chances, but Sterling’s thumping drive won the tie for the Etihad outfit. 

Talking Points

Manchester City Show their Gritty Side

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are hailed universally for their effortless, incisive football. Last night, they weren’t allowed much time and space on the ball, which made it difficult for them to influence play the way they generally do. 

However, despite failing to impose their style of play, City didn’t allow Chelsea to get a foothold and did their best to keep the Blues scrambling for answers. 

Sarri’s Plan 

Following the embarrassing 6-0 drubbing at the Etihad Stadium, Maurizio Sarri looked desperate not to let City have their way in the final of the Carabao Cup. So, over the last two weeks, he devised a perfect plan to keep Chelsea from getting outplayed.

Last night, his players stood by him to deliver a defensively astute performance. Eden Hazard, who was Chelsea most potent weapon going forward, made a few darting runs in the second half, forcing City to fall back. 

Kepa Fiasco

Chelsea goalkeeper, Kepa Arrizabalaga is the most expensive shot-stopper in the world. And last night, he audaciously exercised his powers to undermine his coach. 

Before the penalty shootout, Sarri wanted to bring on penalty specialist second-choice keeper Willy Caballero. Kepa, who seemed to have a cramp at the time, made gestures and threw tantrums to stay involved, clearly insulting the coach and Caballero in the process. 

Also Read: Man City – All or nothing


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