Can Sunderland upset the odds to win the Capital One Cup Final?
It’s that time of the year again as the first cup final of the English domestic season rolls around again and this year we have the impressive Manchester City and the plucky underdogs Sunderland lining up face to face at Wembley as they battle to lift the Capital One Cup into the air in triumph.
GR88.com, like pretty much everyone outside of Wearside, sees this match being a runaway victory for Manuel Pellegrini’s men, but one only has to look at the FA Cup final last season, where City were beaten by Wigan, and the recent head to head record between these sides, with Sunderland winning four and drawing one of the last eight matches, to see that there is more than meets the eye in this David versus Goliath clash.
Manchester City – 1.30
Draw (and extra time) – 5.10
Sunderland – 7.80
(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)
We would have had an indication of how this match between these two teams would go as they were due to meet at The Etihad two and a half weeks ago, but due to the weather conditions making it unsafe for fans to enter and leave the stadium safely the game was called off. This means that we’re going into this game in the unknown as they have not faced each other since the start of November when Sunderland secured a 1-0 win at the Stadium of Light thanks to a Phil Bardsley goal.
Sunderland have now won all of the last four competitive matches away from The Etihad against City and are unbeaten in five since losing 3-0 at home at the start of the 2008/09 Premier League season. With this record and the memories of Ben Watson’s goal late in the FA Cup Final last season still haunting their memories, City will have lingering doubts in the back of their minds about this first match back at Wembley since that late heartbreak last season.
However, they will be confident about their own abilities that have seen them score 19 goals, including beating West Ham 9-0 on aggregate over two legs in the Semi Final. However, they have had a relatively easy route to the final with Wigan, Newcastle, Leicester and West Ham their opponents on the way. Despite this they have struggled of late with two losses, against Chelsea and Barcelona in the Premier and Champions Leagues as well a 0-0 draw at Norwich all coming in their last five matches.
Sunderland will look to this and see a weakness and they will look to take advantage and with Chelsea and Manchester United their last two high profile casualties on their march to the final, they will not fear anyone at Wembley. Certainly a side they do so well against will not have them quaking in their boots and with Craig Gardner and Sebastian Larsson being integral parts of their side and having won this trophy with Birmingham City in 2011 they have plenty of experience to back up their confidence.
Each side will have a key player and for the favourites it is Sergio Aguero who is likely to return from injury for this match. If he can return and hit the ground running then he will cure the ails of City who have been struggling for goals during his month long absence. For Sunderland it is former City player Adam Johnson as the winger has found form since the middle of January as he has bagged six goals.
For me, I love to see a good upset in the cup and Sunderland have already taken the scalps of Chelsea and Man United and with their record against City in recent times I can see them at least pushing City all the way and, at best, lifting this Capital One Cup trophy at Wembley this weekend.
Back Sunderland +1.5 goals in the Capital One Cup Final versus Man City @ 1.86 with GR88.com.