The EFL caught up with Sky Sports’ presenter Hayley McQueen, who offered her views on Arsenal, Manchester City and the Carabao Cup Final.
“Arsenal are not quite where they would like to be, but Arsene Wenger and Pep Guardiola both need this trophy, in that they will want to get the silverware under their belt in the hope that the momentum will carry them through the rest of the season.
“It could be their only piece of silverware this season, but what an important one it could be. I can’t believe that Arsene Wenger has never won this trophy over his 20 years at Arsenal and he’ll be so pleased if he can be victorious on Sunday.
“For Arsenal to win it under Wenger, given he has never won it in such a long reign, would make such a good story. I really like Arsene Wenger, and as a person I have so much respect for him. He deserves some silverware this season and if they are victorious, who knows? It could spur them on to challenge for a top four place.
“Given Manchester City only won it a couple of years ago with some of the same squad members, they’ll definitely be going to Wembley expecting to do the same again. They know what it feels like to win this competition and they’ll want to be a part of that again.
“City are going runaway leaders and it would be great for them to win the Premier League, but to get some silverware before that will really spur them on even more to go on and potentially compete the treble.
“The fact that some of their squad have won it before will have a positive effect on some of the younger fringe players. They’ll be talking about the magic of a cup competition.”
The Pep effect…
“People may ask ‘did Pep get lucky at Barcelona?’ - he definitely didn’t because look at what he’s doing at City currently. I remember when he first came to England we were all thinking ‘he doesn’t have Barcelona or Messi now, what’s he going to do?’
“Manchester City had a great squad but you did wonder if he could cut it in the English game where he’d never managed in before, but my goodness he’s been brilliant. He’s a magician.
“Knowing the way that Pep’s mind works, any trophy is a trophy and he will be determined to win this one that’s for sure.”
Who’s going to win?
“Both managers will approach the final in the same way in that they both want to win and are aware of the occasion at Wembley Stadium. Cup finals are amazing and this shouldn’t be underestimated.
“Winning that first piece of silverware give you the confidence to go on for the rest of the season and keep that momentum going. No-one should ever underestimate the great effect that can have on a club and the fans. Winning the Carabao Cup is special because you’re the club that has achieved something that no other club has yet — you’ve won the season’s first piece of silverware.
“On the flip side, if you lose a cup final at Wembley — how does that affect the rest of your season and the players mentally?
“My heart says Arsenal, because of the brilliant story of Arsene Wenger completing his trophy set, and given where they are in the league, it would be brilliant if they could beat City.”