For many in England, in particular the ‘big six’, the Carabao Cup is not an important trophy and is often used to showcase the younger players within the ranks. This was ever apparent with City in the previous rounds, with four youth players starting against Leicester in the last round, three of whom are from Manchester City’s academy.
However, as the semi finals draw closer, I believe that City need to start taking the competition seriously and really try to win the competition.
Primarily, I believe this due to the opposition in the Semi Finals. Bristol City have already claimed the scalps of four Premier League sides, including an outstanding performance in the last round against a fairly strong Manchester United side. This is a huge test for City, who have already been given a scare against fellow high flying Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers, so they need to play a strong side and try to make this tie over quickly. Whilst Pep Guardiola will want to rest key players for the Premier League, he should definitely at least take the first leg of this tie seriously, so that he can go into the second leg and perhaps take more risks and rest key players.
Which brings me onto my second reason. If this competition is really such a hindrance to Guardiola then he may as well have put a team of academy players in the third round at West Brom and given up then. However, as City’s players have got them this far, I don’t see the point in not trying to win the competition. It would have been a total waste of time and resources.
Overall, whilst it will hardly be considered a bad season if City go on to reclaim the title, but fail to win the League Cup, I don’t believe this is an excuse to not take this competition seriously. City might be playing outstanding football, but to really prove how far they’ve come, they need to win as many trophies as possible to fill the cabinet and improve their pedigree. Not to mention, with the Champions League looking weaker than it has for years and the FA Cup still anyone’s game, this could be a season in which Manchester City can make history and show everyone how far they’ve come in just under a decade. However, this history can all begin with a League Cup triumph…
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featured image credit Manchester City FC