Manchester City take on Tottenham in the 2020-21 Carabao Cup final at Wembley on Sunday.
City are eyeing further domination of the League Cup while Spurs are hoping to end a 13-year wait for a trophy as they fight it out for the first silverware of the season.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the final’s talking points.
Ending Spurs’ drought
Tottenham are in desperate need of silverware as they have gone 13 years since lifting a trophy when they won the League Cup in 2007-08. That is their longest drought since a barren run between the 1920s and late 1940s and one of the main reasons why Jose Mourinho was appointed. Despite that, Spurs ruthlessly fired the Portuguese just six days before the final in response to a poor run of form. It seems odd timing as Mourinho had won the League Cup in each of his three previous managerial spells in England, twice at Chelsea and once at Manchester United. Spurs have risen towards the top of the English game in the last six years but have always been the nearly men. It is time for them to put some silverware in the trophy cabinet, regardless of Mourinho’s exit.
City eyeing history
While cobwebs have been growing in Spurs’ trophy cabinet, Manchester City have had to build a new one as their dynasty has grown over the last decade. Despite numerous Premier League and FA Cup wins, they have enjoyed the most success in this competition as, while other teams have not taken it seriously, they most certainly have. City are going for a fourth successive title and sixth in eight years and also have one eye on a piece of history. If they can beat Spurs and lift this year’s crown, it will take them to eight titles overall, which would equal Liverpool’s tally as the most.
Will fans show their anger?
The final is a Government pilot event for getting fans back into stadiums, with 8,000 being allowed in Wembley as plans for life after lockdown continue to be tested. The fans could well use this opportunity to protest against the events of this week, where both clubs joined and then quickly left the controversial European Super League. Some Tottenham supporters have already shown their anger at their owners after gathering ahead of the midweek match with Southampton, but in a game between two clubs that angered not only their own fanbase but also the wider footballing community, there could be a more substantial protest.
City’s focus elsewhere?
While City will be keen to win an eighth League Cup, it would be excusable for them to have one eye on their next game – a Champions League semi-final first leg against Paris St Germain in France. City have cleaned up domestically under Guardiola but they have yet to make their mark on the European stage and that is the Spaniard’s big wish. They are looking strong contenders this season but face a PSG side that have beaten Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the last two rounds so have it tough. Guardiola will surely have Wednesday’s trip to Paris in mind when he selects his team at Wembley, especially with fitness concerns over Kevin de Bruyne.
Will Spurs be ‘Spursy’?
There is a reason Tottenham have developed an unwelcome nickname over the last few decades. They are known as ‘Spursy’, which is a derogatory term used when they fall short on the big stage and, unfortunately for them, there are many instances even in the last few years. Despite Mauricio Pochettino improving them and making them a force, they were never able to get over the line. They fell away in two Premier League title races at the crucial moment, lost the 2015 League Cup final – to Mourinho’s Chelsea – were beaten in two successive FA Cup semi-finals and of course lost the biggest game in their history when they went down to Liverpool in the 2019 Champions League final. The club’s hierarchy will hope that the decision to sack Mourinho so close to the game and appoint Ryan Mason will give the team the boost needed to shake off that tag and claim glory.