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Aston Villa vs Man City - Carabao Cup Final Preview

Aston Villa vs Man City - Carabao Cup Final Preview
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Man City face Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup Final this weekend at Wembley with the Citizens looking to become the first team to win the competition in three consecutive years since Liverpool won it four times in a row between 1981/1984. We've previewed the Final below where you can also take advantage of Betway's BetYourWay Builder by creating your own bet by combining a number of markets.

Image: PA
Image: PA

Pep Guardiola's side started their Cup campaign this season back in September with a 3-0 victory at Preston thanks to goals from Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and an unfortunate Ryan Ledson own goal. The Citizens followed that up with back-to-back 3-1 wins against Southampton and Oxford in the Round of 16 and Quarter-Finals respectively before drawing local rivals Man United in the Semi-Finals. Once again the Citizens comfortably put three past their opponents before losing the second-leg 1-0, a deficit which still saw them progress to this weekend's final. In fact Man City scored three goals in four of the five matches they played en route to the final and Bookmakers Betway have them at 11/2 to win by that margin this weekend.

Dean Smith's side on the other hand started their Cup journey slightly earlier in August in the Second Round, as they were not part of any European Competitions this season. Villa comfortably put six past Crewe before a 3-1 victory at the Amex against Premier League rivals Brighton and a 2-1 win over Wolves set up an, at the time, tricky Quarter-Final tie against the European Champions, Liverpool. Fortunately for the Villains the tie coincided with Liverpool's trip to Qatar for the FIFA Club World Cup tournament meaning Jürgen Klopp and his first team were unable to play, fielding the second-string side managed by under-23s boss Neil Critchley Villa cruised to a 5-0 victory and a Semi-Final tie against Leicester. A 1-1 draw at the King Power Stadium was followed by a 2-1 victory at Villa Park courtesy of a 93rd minute winner from Trézéguet to send Villa to their first Carabao Cup Final since 2010, a match they lost 2-1 to Man United. Bookmakers Betway have Villa at 14/1 to win the cup this weekend with 33/1 to win it on penalties.

Team News

Man City are of course still without Leroy Sané, who sustained a torn ACL in the Community Shield at the beginning of the season. The biggest loss for City however, will be that of influential centre-back Aymeric Laporte, who was forced off in Man City's emphatic win at Real Madrid in the 32nd minute. Man City anxiously await the results of that injury but Pep Guardiola has since stated that "he's injured and it's a problem of being out injured for four or five months and then coming back still mending."

Aston Villa on the other hand are still without Scotish midfielder John McGinn and Brazilian striker Wesley thanks to an ankle injury and a cruciate ligament rupture respectively keeping them out for prolonged periods of time. Goalkeepers Tom Heaton and Jed Steer also remain sidelined for the Villains, meaning that goalkeeping veteran Pepe Reina will most likely don the gloves this weekend. This will be the Spaniard's second Carabao Cup final after helping Liverpool win the competition in 2012, where the Reds overcame Cardiff beating them 5-4 on penalties.

Anwar El Ghazi lasted only 28 minutes in Aston Villa's 2-0 loss at Southampton last week after the Dutch winger was forced off thanks to a backhand to the face off Jan Bednarek. However the blow wasn't concussive, nor was there any blood, so El Ghazi could be back for the final.

Recent Form

Man City have had a historic week, their 2-1 win against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu was the club's first and only the third time an English club has ever achieved that feat after Arsenal in 2005/06 and Liverpool in 2008/09. With Liverpool's twenty-two point lead at the top of the Premier League and a potential ban from UEFA competitions for the next two seasons the Citizens will have to look elsewhere for success and this is a perfect chance to register silverware this season. Pep Guardiola's men have won ten of their last thirteen games across all competitions losing only two during that time, though one of those losses was a 1-0 defeat in the Cup semi-final that on aggregate saw them win overall.

Aston Villa are at the other end of the spectrum, the Villains have won just two of their last nine matches across all competitions and find themselves sitting just above the relegation zone in the Premier League in seventeenth. The club will certainly take no pride in knowing that Man City have already completed the league double against them this season beating them 3-0 and 6-1 respectively. However Aston Villa are League Cup Veterans, the club has won the competition the joint-third most times at five and in fact a win this weekend would take them joint-second with Man City on six titles.

Ones to Watch

Sergio Agüero is seasoned veteran now when it comes to Carabao Cup Finals, in fact the Argentinian has appeared in four since joining Man City from Atlético Madrid in 2011. Agüero is also undefeated when it comes to Carabao Cup Finals, of the four that he has featured in he has lifted the trophy at the end on every occasion. He doesn't hold too bad a record in the competition either, of the twenty games that he has played he has been directly involved in thirteen goals for the Citizens (ten goals and three assists). Agüero will no doubt be wanting to add a fifth Carabao Cup to his collection and will be looking to have a say in the final against an Aston Villa side that he has already scored a hat-trick against earlier this season. In fact Kun has quite the record against the Villains scoring nine and assisting a tenth in the seven games against them, he's only-ever failed to score on two occasions against them.

Image: PA
Image: PA

Sometimes one man can make or break a game for a team, in Aston Villa's case their talismane will be hoping to dictate the play at Wembley. Not only has Jack Grealish been directly involved in more goals than any other player for Aston Villa across all competitions (17 in 29) but if you break that down further he has scored more goals for the Villains (9) and registered more assists (8) than any other Villa player. The Englishman is evidently the only member of the current Aston Villa squad that was at the club the last time they kept a clean sheet against Man City, Villa managed a 0-0 draw against City in November 2015 and have registered four straight losses against them since that day.

Bookmakers Betway have Sergio Agüero as the favourite to score anytime at 17/40 with Jack Grealish second favourite at 5/1 just short of Mbwana Samatta, who sits at 19/4. A reminder also that you can take advantage of Betway's BetYourWay Builder this Final by creating your own bet by combining a number of markets.

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