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Saturday March 1, 2014 MYT 7:00:00 AM
Friday February 28, 2014 MYT 3:49:18 PM
by shaun orange
The good news for Manchester City is that Samir Nasri and others who were on the injured list are fit again and ready to take on Sunderland. – EPA Photo
MANCHESTER City sit on the threshold of what could yet turn out to be a season of quadruple celebrations. On Sunday the best and most entertaining team in English football come up against Sunderland in the final of the League Cup at Wembley in London.
City struggled desperately to find their form in recent weeks – particularly against Chelsea and Barcelona – but have also shown signs that their killer instinct remains their forte and it is for this reason that Sunderland should be concerned about the Citizens’ true potential.
City fans expect nothing short of success in this Cup final on Sunday and will be looking for more of the same in the FA Cup and Premier League. And if Manuel Pellegrini’s side were to somehow overturn the 2-0 deficit in Barcelona in the Champions League on March 12, that would be considered a huge bonus and the topping off of what promises to be a brilliant campaign.
The doubters and detractors will hastily point to City’s defeat at the hands of Wigan in last season’s FA Cup final and so it was that the favourites were upset. But Pellegrini and his squad will almost certainly not fall into the same trap and thus, Gus Poyet and his troops perhaps should prepare for an onslaught of mega proportions.
The Citizens will also be out to exact a measure of revenge for their defeat in the league at the Stadium of Light in November.
Goods news for the team who won this Cup in 1970 and ’76 is that the injured have been slowly but surely returning to the fold, fighting fit and ready for the run-in to the end of the season, among others Samir Nasri, David Silva, Fernandinho and Stevan Jovetic. Needless to say, they have looked sharp, almost like rested warriors returning to battle.
The absence of Sergio Aguero will hurt somewhat, but it might not surprise the faithful to see him on the bench, having returned to training this past week after a lengthy layoff with a thigh strain.
The Argentine international is so lethal that in just five or 10 minutes at the end, he could turn the final on its head.
There is little doubt that Poyet will be looking to Man United has-beens Wes Brown and John O’Shea to carry his side to triumph. Should they lose, then the victory for City will be a lot sweeter, given the great loathing of their cross-town rivals, whom it must be mentioned will be watching Pellegrini and Co. stride out into the glare of the spotlight at Wembley with serious envy.
Pellegrini, of course, will also be keen on making the League Cup his first piece of silverware in his first season at the helm at the Etihad. There is enough proof in City’s form this term to know that if they hit their stride on Sunday, Sunderland could leave London wounded unlike any other time in their 135-year history.
It would also mark the start in earnest of City’s bid for an unprecedented four titles in a season.
Shaun Orange thinks City will win 3-0 and then go on to take the other three crowns.
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football, EPL, English Premier League, Manchester City, Sunderland
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