Chelsea Football Club will face Manchester City, who recently humiliated them 6-0 in an English Premier League match, on February 24, in the final of this season’s English League Cup, at the iconic Wembley Stadium.
Manchester City is the defending champions. They defeated Arsenal 3-0 in last season’s final. If they succeed in defending their title, they become the first team to do so since 2010 when Manchester United successfully defended the title they won the previous year.
Manchester City fans are anticipating a victory for their side as they have bought all the 32,506 tickets allocated to their club.
Although many pundits do not give Chelsea a chance, they can pull the chestnut from the fire. After all, this is an opportunity to redeem their battered image and avenge their 6-0 bashing by the Citizens.
Qualifying for the finals did not come on a platter of gold, especially for Chelsea. They defeated Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield in the third round before they overcame Derby County, coached by their former player, Frank Lampard, at the Stamford Bridge 3-2 in the fourth round.
The Blues hosted Bournemouth in the quarter-final. Eden Hazard’s lone strike was all they need to cruise into the semi-finals where they faced Tottenham Hotspur in a two-legged encounter. Chelsea progressed to the final 4-2 on penalties after the aggregate score stood at 2-2.
For the defending champions, they thrashed Oxford United 3-0 in round three before they eliminated Fulham 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium in round four.
It took two matches for Manchester City to eliminate Leicester City in the quarter-final. The first match ended 1-1 before the Foxes were overpowered 3-1 in the rematch.
The semi-finals pitched Manchester City against League one side Burton Albion, and after the two-legged encounter, Manchester City qualified for the final after pummelling their minnow-opponents 10-0 on aggregate.
With a top-four finish slipping off Chelsea’s fingers, winning the EFL Cup will be the shortest route to ensure they at least play in next season’s Europa League should in case they fail in their quest to win the second-tier European club competition.
Meanwhile, the English Football Association has appointed officials that will oversee the game. Jon Moss will be the center referee. He will be assisted by Andy Halliday and Marc Perry, while Paul Tierney will be the fourth official. Constantine Hatzidakis will be the reserve assistant referee.
Recall that Jon Moss was in charge of the 2015 FA Cup final at Wembley between Arsenal and Aston Villa.
While Chelsea manager, Maurizio Sarri will be taking charge of his first final in English football, Pep Guardiola will be hoping to defend the first trophy he won at Manchester City successfully.
By Delight Caesar
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