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The final will take place on the 24th February at Wembley Stadium, with the time still to be announced.
Chelsea lost the first of their meetings with Spurs at Wembley 1-0, but were hoping to slip into the final after scoring twice in the first half of the second leg last night. The Spurs defence made an error in allowing N’Golo Kanté room to breathe at a corner, hammering in a low shot after a Fernando Llorente clearance.
Llorente did make up for putting the ball at Kanté’s feet with a diving header in the second half which brought Spurs back to 2-2 on aggregate and kept their Carabao Cup dreams alive.
Despite the headline score, Chelsea were mostly in control of both games yet failed to get any more in than Spurs. The Blues hit the woodwork twice in the first leg and made shot after shot in the second so were unfortunate to have to take it to penalties.
Chelsea manager Sarri has seemed to blame any problems faced in recent weeks on finding difficulties motivating players, and had particularly hard words before the match for Eden Hazard, who he considers not working at his full potential. The Belgian “has to do more” in order to impress Sarri, though the boss did concede that “he's a great player. He always can win the match in two minutes, sometimes in one.”
Hazard was the man who mounted the 38th minute attack that resulted in him flicking the ball behind Paulo Gazzaniga with one touch from his left foot.
In a perhaps surprisingly different perspective from Sarri, Mauricio Pochettino felt “nothing but pride” as he left Stamford Bridge last night. Having played yet again without star men Kane, Alli or Son, the team lacked some of the powerful forward momentum they’ve had for much of the season.
Looking forward to what is to come the Spurs boss was optimistic. “I can congratulate my players and feel proud,” he told press post-match, adding that the close loss “will make us stronger.”
Who would play against Man City in the Carabao Cup final was decided after Willian, Azpilicueta, Jorginho and Luiz made it a flawless four of four for Chelsea on their spot kicks.
Spurs scored twice but failed on two successive attempts. Eric Dier – whose penalty put England past Colombia in the World Cup – firing high of the crossbar and Kepa Arrizabalaga saving Loucas Moura’s shot with a low dive to his left.
Pochettino had praise for the two men, though, pointing out that “you can only miss if you take the responsibility to shoot. For me, it's not a problem.” His optimism in the players and cool reflections on such a close and crushing defeat can be admired, in times like these it’s easy to blame the players.
Chelsea’s win here lines them up against Man City in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley Stadium. The two teams have had a recent competitive streak, Chelsea enjoying a 2-0 win in December at Stamford Bridge, but losing by the same margin in August’s Community Shield game.
It will be the first time that the two teams have ever met in a competitive final, but before kick-off at Wembley, they’ll be meeting at the Etihad Stadium for a Premier League tie on the 10th February.
This game two weeks out from the final will mean a lot to City. They’re still four points behind Liverpool and need to keep racking up three-pointers if they want to take the league this season. It also will give both sides an insight into the tactics and styles they might see in their Carabao Cup Final meeting.
Sarri and Pep Guardiola are known to not only share a mutual respect for each other’s styles of play, but are also somewhat friendly. The pair have been spotted not just chatting together at games, but also dining with their mutual friend Arrigo Sacchi.
The similar playing styles of the two might account for much of this respect. It’s not uncommon for either side to take 65% or more of possession, and, at time of writing they are dominating the passes made so far in the Premier League. Both City and Chelsea have made over 16,000 passes in the league this season. Top placed Liverpool are sitting in third place in the ranking making just over 14,000 and Spurs fourth having not reached the 13,000 passes mark.
For both managers controlling space is key to success in their games. Being able to take it away from opponents and weaken their position is a key component, so the final is likely to go in the direction of whoever can control the game in this way.
Manchester City are hoping to prove the bookies right, who have them at 4/9 favourites, placing Chelsea at 17/10 underdogs.
Both Chelsea and Man City fans can experience the game in VIP style. Chelsea fans wishing to attend can entertain clients and celebrate with friends in The Arc restaurant, while Man City supporters luxuriate in The Venue.
For football hospitality packages, call our hospitality team today on 0845 229 1700.