Four has become three and it could be two after the final of the EFL Cup at Wembley. Manchester City will not be winning the FA Cup after being knocked out by Wigan and if Arsenal beat them on Sunday City can only do the double of the Premier League and Champions League. That wouldn’t be a bad haul but not as good as Manchester United’s achievement of also winning the FA Cup in 1998/99. Arsenal don’t have the players to cause an upset and City are fancied to win.
It’s super Sunday for soccer because Manchester United play Chelsea at Old Trafford earlier in the day. The fixture will be huge in the context of qualifying for the Champions League. City are home and hosed so its any three from four. There are only four points between United in second place and Tottenham three places below. Arsenal are now out of the running sop they can concentrate on the EFL Cup.
The cream usually rises to the top in the FA Cup. In the Premier League era the average finishing position of the Cup winners is fourth and seventh for the losing finalists. The last team from outside the top division to win the League Cup as it was known is Swindon Town in 1969. There have been a few unfancied winners of the competition this century but one of the big five have won it 13 times in 18 years.
Manchester City won the League Cup in 2014 and 2016 and have won it four times in total. Arsenal have only won the trophy twice, in 1987 and 1993. Arsenal were losing finalists in 2007 and 2011 but City most recently lost in the final in 1974. The two finalists on Sunday have not met in the final before. City are the league leaders by some distance and are five places and 27 points ahead of Arsenal.
They do say form can go out of the window in finals and there have been some surprise outcomes down the years. However, the favourites have won the last six League Cup finals and eight of the last ten. Those matches have produced 28 goals in total during 90 minutes. Both teams have scored seven times and there have been more than two goals on five occasions. The winners have won to nil just twice. The most popular number of goals by any team is 1 and the second most popular is zero.
Historically, Arsenal have got the better of this fixture. They have won 96 of the meetings, City have won 51 and there have been 45 draws. There have been 10 clashes since the start of 2014 of which City have won two, Arsenal four and there have two draws. Those ten fixtures have produced 32 goals, both teams have scored eight times including in the last six fixtures and the goals tally has been over two eight times, including in the six most recent meetings. The stats suggest a final in which both teams find the net and there are at least three goals.
With regards current form City have the edge. They have won three of their last five league matches but were knocked out of the FA Cup by Wigan on Monday. Arsenal’s last five matches in the Premier League have alternated between losses and wins. City won this season’s one league meeting, 3-1 at home in November. If we put all this information together the projected result is 2-1 to Manchester City after normal time.