City are off to Wembley again, to play Liverpool in the Capital One Cup Final. It looks like this could be a close one.
This week City are going to the home of English football to compete in the first cup final of the season—The League Cup Final. City will come up against Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool, who were strong opponents for City earlier in the season when the side met at The Etihad, but City will be in high spirits after a big Champions League win in midweek against Dynamo Kiev. “I always want to win all the trophies that I participate” were the words of a motivated Manuel Pellegrini in the pre-match press conference, as football fans in Manchester and Liverpool will be excited for this massive clash in the capital.
Daniel Sturridge vs. Vincent Kompany
Both Sturridge and Kompany have recently returned from injury, and both look to have revitalized their team with their immense energy as soon as they returned! Kompany has strengthened Manchester City’s back four, and he and Nicolás Otamendi both performed fantastically in the Champions League first leg against Dynamo Kiev on Wednesday. However, Sturridge will be tough opposition for these two, as he will have plenty reasons to be motivated for this game. He’s already grabbing goals since coming back from injury in order to grab himself a European Championships spot this summer, and coming up against his old team in Jürgen Klopp’s first opportunity for English silverware, will surely bring about a performance from the striker. This one will definitely be close.
City 1-4 Liverpool
City were unlucky in the fixture draw, as Liverpool came to town just as Klopp had arrived and installed a quick pressing play. This speed saw them pull out a great performance and City couldn’t do much about it this time. Since then City have excelled in the league, whilst Liverpool have stuttered.
City 3-1 Sunderland
Last time City found themselves in the League Cup Final was in Manuel Pellegrini’s debut season two years ago, where the Chilean manager saw his side ease past Sunderland to lift the trophy. Two fantastic goals from Yaya Touré and Samir Nasri will go down into Wembley folk law, featuring on every highlight reel played at the national stadium since. Jesús Navas added a third for a comfortable trip to the capital.
· Samir Nasri: long-term.
· Kevin de Bruyne: long-term.
· Fabian Delph: long-term.
Quote of the presser:
“I won’t talk about tactics here. Even in Manchester they have televisions” – Jürgen Klopp. Ouch.
For more on Klopp’s charismatic personality and killer quotes, read http://mancunion.com/2016/02/03/klopperation-celebration/
Both Gaël Clichy and Willy Caballero came to talk to the press on Friday after training. This is what they had to say.
Willy Caballero was in high spirits in an interview with the press, as he looks set to start the Capital One Cup Final in goal, leaving Joe Hart on the bench. Caballero wouldn’t be drawn on whether he will start the match or not, stating that “I think it’s a question for Manuel, but I have to accept every decision because he is the boss,” however Pellegrini has hinted in press conferences that the Argentine will be between the posts. “We are training very very hard for this game, I am ready for this final” are the words of Caballero, which will act as a reassurance to the fans, and he then goes on to describe the game as the biggest of his career. Caballero spoke excellent English despite it not being his native tongue, and the Argentine was quick to point out that this game isn’t just important for Pellegrini in his last season. “Most important is for this club. We have a beautiful infrastructure, and a beautiful training ground but for a big big team we must win trophies.” Roberto Mancini dropped Costel Pantilimon for City in the FA Cup Final defeat to Wigan Athletic four years ago, despite telling him that he would play the game, so despite how Caballero has played every minute of League Cup action this year, he shouldn’t be counting his chickens yet as Pellegrini could do similarly.
Clichy’s vital experience
Gaël Clichy seems to have been around forever, and is no stranger to a trophy or two. As one of the ‘Invincibles’ in Arsenal’s unbeaten season, Clichy has won the FA Cup, the Premier League and The League Cup in his time in England. When he talks you can hear his experience which will be vital in the cup final. When asked about the game against Kiev in midweek, Clichy Said “let’s put this in the past because we don’t want to think about this one anymore,” which will be an essential mindset for City in this game—they cannot underestimate Liverpool and become complacent after a midweek win.
This game will be a chance for Manuel Pellegrini to get a trophy in his final season with the club, and the City players have been expressing how much they want to win a trophy for the likeable manager. Clichy likens him to Arsène Wenger. “He reminds me a bit of Arsène Wenger. Very calm, and whatever situation we are in he always tries to keep the players calm… he is the kind of manager that brings calmness to the dressing room.” It’s evident from the way that the players speak that there is a lot of respect for Pellegrini and that he will be missed, but Clichy states that it won’t just be for Pellegrini that they are trying to win for; “you play for the chairman, the owner of the club, the fans, the manager and yourself.”
Wembley has been home to some of the greatest footballing moments in history, but New Wembley has specifically given Manchester City some of their greatest moments in their modern history. City beat the 35-year-long curse to finally win a cup again in 2011 when they beat Stoke City in the FA Cup Final, after defeating rivals Manchester United in the semi-final at Wembley. This was only the beginning though, as City fans have labelled Wembley their ‘second home’ in recent years; a League Cup win against Sunderland, a last minute FA Cup defeat to Wigan, and a few Charity Shield matches to boot—Wembley is home.
In his pre-match press conference, Manuel Pellegrini stated that “for everyone, Wembley is one of the most important stadiums in the world. To play a final there creates a different atmosphere.” This is echoed by his players who seemed just as excited to play there! Willy Caballero mirrored had this to say; “when I was a child I hear about Wembley and a lot of history about here [Manchester City] when I arrive here.”
Gaël Clichy also has a fondness for the national stadium. “Even though I’m not an English player… you know as a kid you want to play in this stadium.” Clichy also reminisced of a time earlier this year when France and England played in the stadium, a few days after the Paris terror attacks. “The image that comes to mind is the game that England played against France – seeing those colours – everyone united for the same reason. I think football is a beautiful game and those kind of days are beautiful.”
For more information on this game, and the Paris terror attacks, read http://mancunion.com/2015/11/25/nous-sommes-ensemble/
The charismatic German that is Jürgen Klopp became manager of Liverpool earlier this season, and despite how they are still sitting down in 8th position, Klopp has changed the way that Liverpool play to be more entertaining—and if that fails then he will be entertaining in his press conferences. Klopp’s mixture of being one of the friendliest faces in football, and still be intensely intimidating, is something that the Liverpool players seem to have reacted to. Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino have excelled under the new manager, with their technical flair and long range shooting. City will have to watch out from all angles as this side can score from anywhere on the field! Liverpool will definitely be up for this game—a team so used to winning trophies through the years, and dominating the league and FA Cup competitions, have been suffering in the trophy department in the last ten years, and will be looking to set this straight. In his interview Clichy stated that “we know what to expect from them” as this one looks to be a very close match.
Manchester City Womens FC
On Thursday MCWFC ran out 2-1 winners against Pitea IF in their final friendly game before the start of the new season next month. Goals from Toni Duggan and Kosovare Asllani saw off the side! City are big favourites for the title this season and will be competing in Europe also! Season tickets are still on sale at http://tickets.mcfc.co.uk/season-ticket.aspx
City have more quality and will be motivated to go on and win this game. My head is telling me 2-0, but I like the idea of a Raheem Sterling winner, so will give Liverpool a goal too.
Manchester City 2-1 Liverpool.