September 18, 2019, 22:02

Carabao Cup Final: Can Pep Guardiola and Manchester City really win the quadruple?

Carabao Cup Final: Can Pep Guardiola and Manchester City really win the quadruple?

Ahead of the Carabao Cup final on Sunday, we assess Manchester City’s chances of winning an historic quadruple this season.

City are still fighting on all four fronts and victory over Chelsea at Wembley this weekend would lead to talk of an unprecedented clean sweep, with Pep Guardiola’s side also well placed in the Premier League and into the latter rounds of the Champions League and FA Cup.

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Here, we look at the challenges City face heading into the final stretch of the season and assess their chances of taking all four trophies available to them…

Key fixtures

The Carabao Cup final and the entirety of March will prove pivotal in City’s pursuit of their first-ever quadruple as they play matches in all four competitions across a matter of weeks.

Important Manchester City fixtures CL round of 16 first leg Schalke (a) Wednesday, February 20 Carabao Cup final Chelsea (n) Sunday, February 24 CL round of 16 second leg Schalke (h) Tuesday, March 12 Premier League Manchester United (a) TBC FA Cup quarter-final TBC W/E of March 16 TBC

City take on Chelsea, who they beat 6-0 on February 10, at Wembley looking to win their fourth League Cup in the last six years.

Guardiola’s side will then be hoping to make second-leg home advantage count against Bundesliga side Schalke in their Champions League ties on Wednesday and March 12, the same week they were due to face fierce rivals Manchester United in the Premier League, live on Sky Sports.

However, that game will now be rescheduled as the FA Cup quarter-finals are set to be played that weekend.

How many games would City have to play?

City have 11 matches of the Premier League season left to play, but the Premier League champions could be in for a physically gruelling end to the campaign.

Should City reach the final of every competition, they would play an extra 11 matches if you include the Carabao Cup final, the FA Cup and all the Champions League rounds.

That would bring their total for this season to a huge 64 games, stretching back to their Community Shield win over Chelsea on August 5, 2018, through to the Champions League final on June 1, 2019.

Do City have strength in depth?

Perhaps surprisingly, City have used the second fewest amount of players in the Premier League this season. They match Brighton in using 21 players across the campaign so far. Only Wolves have used fewer (18).

Although Guardiola is renowned for changing his side’s formation throughout a single season, he tends to keep the faith in the same players. Could this be an issue with so many games coming up where the pressure to use your best players increases?

City have a more than capable back-up player in every position of the pitch, but they will be hoping Ederson in particular does not suffer an injury in the next month.

Claudio Bravo is ruled out until the end of March after rupturing his Achilles back in August, meaning City would have to resort to third-choice Arijanet Muric, who has made just five League Cup appearances this season, as a short-term option if he had a setback.

Top scorer Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne both suffered injuries in November which saw them miss City’s first Premier League loss this season away to Chelsea, and restricted them to substitute appearances in their second defeat – at home to Crystal Palace.

Those results suggest keeping their top scorer and leading playmaker fit, and in the team, could prove pivotal for City to battle on all four fronts.

A first for Guardiola

Sky Bet odds have City at 20/1 to win the quadruple, but for Guardiola this will be a step into the unknown. No English team in history has won all four major titles in a single season.

Guardiola guided Barcelona to a treble in the 2008/09 season and won a domestic double twice with Bayern, but the Champions League eluded him during his three-year stay in Germany.

At City he won a Premier League-League Cup double last season, but the 48-year-old has made it no secret he wants to win every piece of silverware.

He said in January: “Who are the best clubs in the last decade? Juventus, Bayern Munich, Barcelona. These are the best three teams in the last decade in Europe, why?

“Because every season they win the league, every season they win the cups, every season they are there and that is what I want.”

Source: skysports.com

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