Manchester City are undoubtedly the favorites heading into Sunday’s League Cup final with Tottenham Hotspur, and for good reason.
The Lilywhites face a team that could match Liverpool’s record of eight titles in national cup competition, having won five of the last eight and the last three in succession.
MORE: How to Watch the Carabao Cup Final in the USA
Indeed, Pep Guardiola has become used to claiming the first silverware on the English football calendar since his arrival in 2016 and this year is no different.
While City are the favorites to end the day with their eighth EFL Cup success, the administrative turmoil in North London could somehow play in the underdog’s favor. Nobody, except perhaps the high command of the club, saw the departure of José Mourinho coming.
The expectation was that having taken the club within 90 minutes of at least ending a 13-year trophy drought, the two-time Champions League winner could lead the Spurs to the line in their first final since the defeat of CL against Liverpool in 2019..
That riot in the capital is expected to set the tone for Tottenham to reclaim its first title since 2008 and push it to one of the Champions League venues, which remain up in the air with the end of the season fast approaching.
It has been a reverse campaign for the club, and Serge Aurier’s campaign, in general, resembles the general mood of the club.
Initially playing the supporting role of the summer contract with Matt Doherty of Wolverhampton Wanderers, the Ivory Coast at the time became Mourinho’s favorite in the fall, as Spurs looked like Premier League contenders at the time.
The defender’s performances in wins over City and Arsenal made him the team’s main right-back, but Doherty slowly came back to account and appeared to have supplanted Aurier before March’s injury release.
In truth, fighting for the right-hander role with the ex-Wolf man was one of the preseason subplots, but neither has actually held a starting spot. The much-maligned West African has played in 48 percent of Spurs’ PL games in 2020-21, starting just over half of his 33 games.
While acting boss Ryan Mason revealed that the Irishman is back in training for Sunday’s clash, opting to return the 29-year-old to the XI may be ill-advised and Aurier’s rather encouraging performance against Southampton midweek. it was nice to see.
After under-par displays against Manchester United and Everton, the right-back won more ground and aerial duels than everyone else on the field in Mason’s first game in temporary charge against Southampton, while making more tackles than players from both sides.
Even if the Green Englishman has reservations about the former Paris Saint-Germain defender, the paucity of alternatives may be an advantage for the African and could mean he leans on the sometimes misunderstood Ivorian on Sunday.
Having started in the final 2015 loss to Chelsea, the interim manager knows what it feels like to lose at this stage and, despite Guardiola’s side coming into the game as the media favorite, the London club should find aspects. positives in the recent Cityzens crash. off in performances.
“From a personal point of view, winning means a lot, because I’ve been involved with the club for so long,” Mason told the club website before the final.
“I think, more importantly, for the fans, everyone involved in the club, everyone who follows the club … it’s been a long time and hopefully that ends the weekend for everyone involved and associated with the club. “
“Sunday will be great for the club. It is important that this club play in the final of the cup, and we will go full of confidence.”
Tottenham’s chances certainly increase if Harry Kane is approved to play for Home of Football, although that does not give guarantees after the final 2018-19 Champions League defeat against Liverpool.
Mason experienced the euphoria of success as a younger and amateur player in 2008 and the throes of defeat as a first-team player seven years later with Mauricio Pochettino.
After losing two finals since that win over Chelsea 13 years ago, the Englishman expects players like Aurier to take on a distracted City in hopes of getting lucky for the third time and ending their prolonged trophy drought.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.