Manchester City v Tottenham Tips: EFL Cup to stay in the north

Andy Schooler has a way to back Manchester City at 3.6 in Sunday's Carabao Cup final against Tottenham at Wembley.

City odds-on for record feats

Liverpool have won the EFL Cup on more occasions than any other team (eight) and also hold the record for wins in a row (four).

Manchester City will equal both feats if they are victorious in the 2021 final against Tottenham on Sunday.

The odds suggest they will - Pep Guardiola's men are just 1.22 to lift the trophy and 1.53 to win the game in 90 minutes.

With City having won 29 of their last 32 games, it's hard to argue against that judgement, especially when you consider the state of Spurs right now - two wins in their last seven but, perhaps more importantly, with a new, inexperienced manager at the helm following the sacking of Jose Mourinho less than seven days before this game.

Still, there is a case to be made for a shock Spurs win - they can be backed at 3.1 to win the cup and are 6.4 to do so in regular time.

City have actually lost two of their last four, their hopes of an unprecedented Quadruple having gone up in flames on this same Wembley turf last weekend when Chelsea beat them 1-0 in the FA Cup semi-finals.

Against Spurs, Guardiola's side have won just one of their last four, losing twice. That said, that victory was a comprehensive 3-0 success just a couple of months ago.

Crucially, they also have a Champions League semi-final looming - on Wednesday they face PSG in that competition, a fact which will mean the team which lines up here is likely to be far from their strongest.

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With John Stones suspended, Aymeric Laporte can be expected to start in defence, while the likes of Raheem Sterling, Fernandinho and Benjamin Mendy are also likely to be called upon. In goal, Zack Steffen has played in every domestic cup tie so far this season - and he was at fault for the goal which knocked them out last weekend.

Kevin de Bruyne could be involved, although with that PSG clash now so close, it would be no surprise to see him left out to ensure he is fully fit to face the Frenchmen.

Spurs wait on Kane

While City's side is likely to be much-changed, Tottenham's team will look very much like the one which got Ryan Mason off to a winning start in the hot-seat on Wednesday against Southampton.

There's still no Ben Davies, while Joe Rodon is cup-tied.

The big question is whether Harry Kane will play, although given his history of ankle injuries, it would appear fanciful that he is able to recover from rolling that joint, so to speak, at Goodison just over a week ago.

Harry Kane with ball 1280.jpg

Losing Kane (pictured) would clearly be a huge blow but even without him, I'd expect Mason to set up his team to give it a good go as they seek their first trophy since picking up this one in 2008.

Chelsea showed the template for beating City last week - focus on staying tight at the back but also offer a threat when you do get a chance to go forward - but while Mourinho would have tried that, I doubt a man raised in the club will adopt such a style.

Frankly, as Mourinho often alluded to, Spurs' defence isn't good enough to carry out such a plan and I can see City's press forcing errors from their defence and holding midfielders.

With the cup holders having proved more than good enough to win games in recent months without several key members of their squad, I don't think the argument for an upset is a strong enough one.

And while backing them to win the game at 1.52 is hardly a get-rich-quick scheme, I do like another way of getting with the favourites.

City defence to be breached again

Much has been said about City's improved defence this season but it's not been watertight of late with only four clean sheets kept in their last 13 games.

Even if Kane is ruled out, Spurs have quality in forward areas via the likes of Son Heung-min and Gareth Bale, who look capable of testing the expected Ruben Dias-Laporte defensive pairing. They have only played as a centre-back pair on 14 occasions - one of those being the 2-0 defeat at Spurs in November.

A City win in 90 minutes with both teams scoring is out at 3.6, much bigger than it was in last year's final in which City beat Aston Villa 2-1.

This makes considerably more appeal than backing over 2.5 goals at 1.83.

Consider cards

In terms of the sub-markets, it is worth noting that over 40 booking points has landed in the last six EFL Cup finals.

This year's also has a strict referee in charge - Paul Tierney is the highest carder in this season's Premier League, averaging exactly four yellows per game. He has also shown three reds in his 20 matches.

The 13/10 about this option is therefore worthy of consideration.

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