Defending champions Manchester City take on minnows Wycombe Wanderers as they look to make history in the Carabao Cup.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City go into this season’s Carabao Cup with an eye on the history books. The defending champions have won the trophy eight times, a record they hold along with Liverpool.
Success this season will see them establish themselves as the numero uno in the competition’s history. Perhaps an omen, but the Citizens have been handed a fairly straightforward opener against League One side Wycombe Wanderers.
Manchester City go into the game off the back of a frustrating 0-0 draw at the weekend against Southampton. They will now look to get back to winning ways in a competition they have dominated in recent seasons.
Wycombe meanwhile were relegated to the third tier last season and are expected to push for promotion. They are currently in fifth position in League One. Gareth Ainsworth’s side won their previous two games in the League Cup on penalties and in Manchester City, have come up against a juggernaut.
The League One side go into the clash as heavy underdogs and will need nothing less than a miracle to triumph on the night. Wycombe in fact made it to the semifinal of the competition in 2006/07. This time however it is fair to say that they will be making an early exit.
Both the teams last faced off against each other in 1999. Wycombe won 2-1 on the night. A similar result on Tuesday will send shockwaves through the footballing world. It is fair to say that both teams have experienced contrasting fortunes since their last meeting.
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#MondayMotivation in full swing 💪☀️
— Manchester City (@ManCity) September 20, 2021
Pep Guardiola has a number of decisions to make in the lead-up to the game. Benjamin Mendy remains suspended by the club while reserve goalkeeper Zack Steffen is still in self-isolation after testing positive for coronavirus. Scott Carson could very well be handed a rare start in goal.
Centre back duo John Stones and Aymeric Laporte have missed City’s last two games and it is unlikely that either of them will be risked in the League Cup. Rodri and Oleksandr Zinchencko also missed the match against Southampton and are in doubt to feature against Wycombe.
With the games against Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain to come next, Guardiola is unlikely to risk his major players. The Catalan has a deep squad on his hands and could opt for a mix of youth and experience. City have enough in their arsenal to see off a Wycombe side who are far from formidable.
Both Ruben Dias and Joao Cancelo could be rested for the game after having played regularly this season. Teenagers Luke Mbete and Joshua Wilson-Esbrand were both on the bench at the weekend and could be handed their first-team debuts Guardiola also has the option to stow Fernandinho into defence for his experience.
Cole Palmer and Samuel Edozie could also feature on the night alongside Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne. Foden and De Bruyne are still returning to full match fitness and could do with a run-out. Raheem Sterling has not featured for City much this season and could be thrown into the fray on the night.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Carson; Walker, Mbete, Ake, Wilson-Esbrand; Palmer, Fernandinho, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Torres, Foden
Veteran forward Adebayo Akinfewa is in line to start upfront, and there could also be starts for Anis Mehmati and Josh Scowen in attack.
Gareth McCleary who scored a brace against Charlton Athletic on the weekend could make way and settle for a spot on the bench. Starting him up front alongside Akinfewa, however, offers Wycombe their best chance of catching Manchester City off-guard. Akinfewa’s raw power could be too much for Ake and Mbete to handle.
Another player who could make way from the starting XI is goalkeeper David Stockdale. Adam Przybek is expected to take his spot between the sticks.
The Chairboys could go in with a three-man defence to counter City. However, that could run into a massacre should Guardiola’s side turn up the style. The onus is on Manchester City to take the game to their opponents. Wycombe will have to play out of their skins to eliminate a City side who are admittedly not at full strength.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Przybek; Stewart, Tafazolli, Jacobsen; KaiKai, Scowen, Thompson, Pendlebury, Obita; McCleary, Akinfewa
- Manchester City are aiming to win their ninth League Cup, overtaking Liverpool as the most successful side in the competition’s history.
- Both teams have faced off four times in their history, with Manchester City winning just once.
- Wycombe hold the lead in the head to head clashes, having won two of their four clashes.
- Manchester City have won the League Cup five times in the last six years. A triumph this season will be their fifth straight win in a row.
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The Dutch star scored against RB Leipzig last week and will be called upon to lead the Manchester City defence against Wycombe. Going up against Adebayo Akinfewa is no easy task and the veteran striker knows to use his physicality to great effect.
Adebayo Akinfenwa: “I was watching the game and doing some research as well, saying ‘we can get at #ManCity this way or that way’ and then watched as @ManCity scored six. We [Wycombe] won’t sit back and we’ll put our best foot forward and give it a good go…”
— City Xtra (@City_Xtra) September 20, 2021
Ake will not just have to be resilient himself but also marshall a young defence who could be intimidated by the Wycombe striker. While City have enough in their ranks to win easily, Ake will need to step up and prove his credentials as the senior centre-back on the night. The Dutchman has been handed an excellent opportunity to do just that. Whether he takes it or not remains to be seen.
Manchester City 3-0 Wycombe Wanderers
Despite not having all of his best players, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side should have enough in their ranks to see off Wycombe. The defending champions should have enough firepower in their ranks to put the League One side firmly in their place.
While Wycombe could cause some problems to City’s centre-back pairing, it should be a straightforward win for the defending champions. Guardiola & co. will be keen to get back to winning ways after the disappointment against Southampton.