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City are looking for a third League Cup triumph in five years and will take on Arsenal today looking to secure Pep Guardiola’s first silverware.
There has been much talk about the Blues losing ‘an air of invincibility’ after last Monday’s 1-0 loss to Wigan Athletic, but Aymeric Laporte believes victory over the Gunners is the perfect way to bounce back.
Speaking to The Observer, the French centre-half said: “People have told me that City have a terrible record against Wigan in the Cup, and I can see we have been knocked out three times in the last six seasons.
“The truth is we had a very bad night. We had been in great form and the objectives were clear as we knew they would play for their lives and give us a difficult match.
“Even when we had a man sent off we were still dominating, but just one mistake cost us the game. We now have to get over that. As I said before we are a young team, and if we can use the next game to win a trophy it would definitely help our development.
“It is clear that winning trophies increases everyone’s confidence, but we must not make the mistake of taking our opponents for granted. Arsenal have some great players and they have just made some excellent signings. They are a dangerous team.”
Meanwhile ex-Blues skipper Richard Dunne is tipping his former employers to head back to Manchester with the first trophy of Guardiola’s reign today.
The Sport Review report: “Former Citizens defender Dunne is confident that Manchester City will secure their first piece of silverware under Pep Guardiola on Sunday.
‘I imagine Man City will win it,’ Dunne told Irish radio station Newstalk.
‘They’ve just got too much all over the pitch for Arsenal.
‘Arsenal can play and can cause trouble. I think this will be a big year for Man City and this will be the start of it.’
Fingers crossed, Dunney!
Gabriele Marcotti is always readable and his column in today’s The Herald, he points out that winning the League Cup has come at a price for teams in recent years.
He writes: “And we thought it wasn’t really going to matter. Because, well, it normally doesn’t. Ordinarily, for all the pomp and Wembley circumstance the League Cup doesn’t leave much of a trace. Manchester United won it last season and then went on a run where they won just two of seven in all competitions.
“The year before that, Manchester City lifted the trophy and then won one of their next five. Chelsea in their title-winning campaign? The failed to win two of their next three, getting knocked out of the Champions League in the process. City in 2013-14, when they went on to win the title? They lost their next two, getting eliminated from the FA Cup (at home by – ahem – Wigan) and the Champions League.
“This is not to say the trophy carries with it some kind curse (unless you believe in that sort of thing). Rather, it is just a little disconnected from reality.
“This time though, it is different. This time, it has an outsized importance.
“Manchester City’s quadruple talk has been stowed away following their 1-0 defeat to Wigan in the FA Cup last week. Some of the Pep stardust also fell away at the DW Stadium as a result of the rabid shouting match with his opposite number, Paul Cook (the diatribe that launched a thousand ‘If that had been Mourinho…’ musings on social media).
“Another stumble won’t imperil the Champions League run – they are 4-0 up after their away leg in Basle – and the Premier League has been in the bag for a long time, but a setback, especially against this most schizophrenic of Arsenal sides, could well introduce what has been lacking all season long: self-doubt.”
That’s all for today – enjoy the game and stay with mancity.com for all the build-up and live coverage of the game later this afternoon.
We’ll be back tomorrow with all the reaction from the Carabao Cup final.
Arsenal stand in Manchester City’s way and ahead of the Carabao Cup final we spoke to the Daily Mirror’s Chief Football Writer, John Cross, to get the inside track on Arsene Wenger’s men.
Your Saturday media round-up!