Arsene Wenger has the opportunity to win his first ever Carabao Cup in England when Arsenal face Manchester City at Wembley on Sunday.
Wenger’s trophy haul includes two Premier Leagues and seven FA Cups, yet it is the League Cup which has proved difficult to crack over the years, with final defeats to Chelsea in 2008 and Birmingham three years later.
The Gunners are currently in sixth position, with their top-four hopes looking slim as it stands and a trophy success before the end of the season could prove just the tonic to kick-start Arsenal’s campaign.
Arsenal had to overcome Chelsea in a tight semi-final clash while City narrowly beat Bristol City over an entertaining two-legged affair.
Aaron Ramsey is expected to be available for selection on Sunday and Wenger will assess how the Wales midfielder performs in training over the coming days.
Alexandre Lacazette is sidelined with a knee injury, although his return has been shortened to “four weeks from now, maybe three and a half weeks” according to Wenger.
“We’ll see how Ramsey’s evolution goes now from today until Sunday,” Wenger told Arsenal.com
“I don’t rule him out yet, it depends on how well he can improve with the intensity of training until Sunday.
“Ideally, you want to have the choice but our job is about adaptation and very rarely in your life are you in an ideal situation where you have the luxury of choosing from all the players in your squad. We will adapt. Ideally, I would like him to be available but we’ll see.”
Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla remains a long-term absentee with an Achilles injury.
Arsenal have no players suspended for this game.
ARSENAL POTENTIAL STARTING LINE-UP
Henrikh Mkhitaryan is cup-tied for the Wembley final, which opens up the possibility of Alex Iwobi starting in a front three with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil.
Ramsey’s return from injury is a welcome boost and if he’s passed fit to start then he could be involved with fellow midfielders Jack Wilshere and Granit Xhaka also available.
Wenger may decide to field a defensive midfielder to provide further balance to the midfield, with Mohamed Elneny or Ainsley Maitland-Niles able to slot in ahead of what is likely to be a back four.
David Ospina continues in goal as Arsenal’s ‘cup keeper’, while Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal look set to continue in the full-back spots.
MAN CITY SUSPENSIONS
Delph will miss Sunday’s game as well as Thursday’s clash at the Emirates Stadium and next Sunday’s meeting with Chelsea as a result of his red card against Wigan.
MAN CITY POTENTIAL STARTING LINE-UP
If Sterling is not fit it is likely Bernardo Silva will take his spot on the right-hand side.
Guardiola will also have to decide who plays left-back given Mendy’s injury and Delph’s ban. Danilo has tended to play in games with more defensive demands, while Oleksandar Zinchenko has tended to play at home in matches City are expected to dominate. Guardiola may err on the side of caution and use Danilo.
There are other selection considerations for Guardiola, too. John Stones did not look entirely comfortable against Wigan and in fact he has struggled slightly since returning from injury in January. Aymeric Laporte will be trusted to play in City’s biggest matches this season and it would be no surprise if he started on Sunday. Nicolas Otamendi was rested on Monday and is likely to come back into the side.
Claudio Bravo has played all of City’s Carabao Cup matches and he will start on Sunday, with Ederson on the bench.