Talking points ahead of the Carabao Cup final between Manchester City and Spurs

Talking Points Ahead Of The Carabao Cup Final Between Manchester City And Spurs
Manchester City are defending their League Cup title against Tottenham in Sunday's final, © PA Archive/PA Images
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By Jonathan Veal, PA

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, we take a look at some of the final’s talking points.

Ending Spurs’ drought

Spurs have not won a trophy since 2007 (Sean Dempsey/PA)

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


City have dominated the League Cup in recent years (Mike Egerton/PA)

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.

Robbed of another Pep v Mourinho battle

Pep Guardiola, left, and Jose Mourinho have had an enduring rivalry (Martin Rickett/PA)

Mourinho’s exit means the final has been robbed of another instalment of one of the most enduring managerial rivalries of recent times. Mourinho had gone up against Pep Guardiola 25 times previously and the Spaniard had a clear advantage, winning 12 battles between the two. Only two of their meetings have been in cup finals, with each manager winning one apiece. Mourinho got the better of the Spaniard in the 2011 Copa Del Rey as Real Madrid beat Barcelona 1-0, but Bayern Munich won the 2013 Super Cup final against Chelsea to give Guardiola some revenge. Mourinho did beat his great rival twice as Spurs manager in the last 14 months but is denied the chance of a third.

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 has 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.

Will Spurs be ‘Spursy’?

Tottenham were beaten finalists in the 2019 Champions League final (Mike Egerton/PA)

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 will give the team the boost needed to shake off that tag and claim glory.

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