Preview: Carabao Cup final gives Man City, Arsenal a chance to pressure Liverpool-Xinhua

Preview: Carabao Cup final gives Man City, Arsenal a chance to pressure Liverpool

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-02-23 21:42:45

LONDON, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- The Carabao Cup final between Liverpool and Chelsea on Sunday offers Manchester City and Arsenal an opportunity to narrow the gap at the top of the Premier League table, though both teams face challenging fixtures this weekend.

Manchester City travels to Bournemouth after a narrow 1-0 win at home to Brentford on Tuesday night in which Erling Haaland showed that rumors of his loss of form were exaggerated.

Tiredness could be a factor for Pep Guardiola's side, who is playing its fifth game in 15 days ahead of an FA Cup visit to Luton on Tuesday and a visit to Old Trafford next Sunday.

Guardiola's side thrashed Bournemouth 6-1 when the two teams met in November, but the home side has increasingly adapted to Andoni Iraola's style of play since then and is currently eight points above the bottom three and with a game in hand over Luton.

The game will also give us a chance to see if Bournemouth striker Dominik Solanke is in with a chance of an England call-up after netting 14 league goals this season.

Arsenal hasn't had much time to recover from Wednesday's Champions League defeat away to Porto, which left it with work to do in Europe, after a flat display was punished with an injury time goal against it.

Gabriel Jesus remains out for Arsenal, although Newcastle is likely to travel to London without Alexander Isak, Callum Wilson, and influential defender Fabian Schar.

Arsenal's last two Premier League games have seen it score six goals away to West Ham and five away to Burnley, but Newcastle is likely to be tougher rivals as it looks to return to Europe next season.

Four consecutive wins have lifted Manchester United to within three points of fifth place Tottenham, and although the headlines have been filled with stories of backroom changes in the club, since the confirmation of Sir Jim Ratcliffe as owner of 27 percent of the club's shares, on-field consistency seems to be returning.

Luke Shaw could miss the rest of the season with a muscle injury, but Manchester United, with 18-year-old Kobbie Mainoo impressing in midfield, is a favorite to make it five consecutive wins against a Fulham side that tends to be more effective at home than away.

Fourth place Aston Villa can open a gap on Tottenham if it wins at home to Nottingham Forest, although the visitors will hope that pace of Morgan Gibbs-White, Anthony Elanga and Callum Hudson-Odoi, along with Taiwo Awoniyi, whose return has given more bite to the Forest attack.

Oliver Glasner will make his debut as Crystal Palace's coach with a home game against struggling Burnley. Although Palace has players such as Michael Olise, Eberechi Eze and Marc Guehi likely to miss out, it will be interesting to see if the Austrian has had time to impose his aggressive style on a team that had become too reactive under veteran Roy Hodgson.

Everton visits Brighton and will rely on another dogged defensive display to try and take the points from the south coast.

Sean Dyche's side has scored just five goals in eight matches since the start of 2024, and is likely to see a low percentage of possession against Roberto De Zerbi's ball-playing side.

Sunday's only league game gives Wolverhampton a great chance to press its claim for a place in Europe next season when it takes on bottom of the table Sheffield United, who is likely to sit deep and make the home side chase the game.