League Cup

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LISTEN: The 2 Robbies podcast – What now for the title race?

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After a busy midweek run of matches, the Robbies regroup to break down some of the key stories. First, they chat about whether Maurizio Sarri made the right choice in starting Caballero over Kepa.

Then, they talk the newest developments in the title race ahead of the Merseyside Derby (22:00), the race for 4th place (34:00), and Rafa’s resurgence with Newcastle (46:00).

Finally, the Robbies talk the return of Brendan Rodgers, and the exiting of Claudio Ranieri (48:30).

To listen to more lively conversations and passionate debate from Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe, subscribe to The 2 Robbies Podcast on Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]

VIDEO: Sterling reacts to cup-winning penalty for Manchester City

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Raheem Sterling was one of the few danger men for Manchester City over 120 minutes of play in Sunday’s League Cup Final, so it’s fitting that he scored the winning penalty kick.

And as the Man City supporters sang of a Blue Moon, Sterling was floating over it.

[ MORE: Match recap | Kepa refuses sub ]

“It’s a great feeling,” he said. “I’m home, at Wembley in my city.”

The kick was not without drama, as Sterling rattled the bar with the ball before his attempt crossed the goal line.

Not that his manager knew anything about it until the cheering.

“Pep said he didn’t watch it, where did it go? I told him top bins.”

Sterling praised Chelsea’s effort, and refused to be drawn into talk of a quadruple.

Instead he doubled down on the day-to-day — or trophy-to-trophy — grind.

“Chelsea played a really good game today. They were solid, but you know football is 90 minutes plus extra time but we kept focus and done the business.”

Insane finish sees Man City win League Cup in penalties

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  • Man City wins sixth League Cup
  • Chelsea fails to put shot on target
  • Kepa refuses to sub off before PKs

After 120 minutes of scoreless play, the League Cup Final between Chelsea and Manchester City went down to penalty kicks.

A series of penalties with chaos embedded in them due to a bust-up between Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri and goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga after the latter refused to sub out of the match in extra time.

Raheem Sterling‘s penalty ultimately clinched Manchester City’s sixth League Cup.

[ MORE: Lineups, play-by-play, box score ]

The start was tame, save a Sergio Aguero shot that was stopped by Kepa Arrizabalaga but headed wide of the goal.

The play lived in Chelsea’s end, but the Blues dealt well with the danger en route to a pair of late free kicks. Nicolas Otamendi nearly turned one inside his own goal, and a corner on the last breath of the half was blocked by Oleksandr Zinchenko.

[ MORE: Man Utd-Liverpool recap | 3 Things from OT ]

Eden Hazard earned a breakaway early in the second half only to be caught and tackled by Otamendi.

Aguero had the ball in the goal but was offside in the 56th.

Hazard blazed down the left wing again in the 66th minute, meeting a Willian and long ball and cooking Vincent Kompany before cutting back for N'Golo Kante. The Frenchman flew his chance over the goal.

Chelsea kept coming. Willian set up Ross Barkley for a curling effort with a bit too much loft to threaten Ederson.

Antonio Rudiger was fortunate to see yellow after a pair of fouls helped Man City to a 73rd minute free kick, the latter a scissoring tackle of the ball.

Hazard cued up Pedro for a prime 76th minute chance, but the Spaniard chose to pass rather than shoot and Zinchenko cut it out.

Ederson stopped a whipped Willian free kick in stoppage time, and Chelsea had a corner kick to avoid extra time. City handled it well enough.

Extra time was tame into the second frame, when Sterling danced down the end line and Chelsea defended desperately to force just a corner kick.

A sloppy sequence in the 117th minute allowed Aguero a shot from 20 yard that Arrizabalaga dove to control.

Then, with penalty kicks looming and Arrizabalaga twice down injured, Maurizio Sarri went apopletic when the keeper refused to come off for Wily Caballero. The sub board was up, but Arrizabalaga wouldn’t leave!

To kicks.

Jorginho‘s tame first effort was saved by Ederson. The next shots were goals.

Arrizabalaga then guessed correctly on Sergio Aguero, but the Argentine’s shot went through his gloves. After Emerson finished for Chelsea, Arrizabalaga saved Leroy Sane’s hit.

Then David Luiz hammered the goal post.

LIVE, League Cup Final: Chelsea-Man City

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Manchester City and Chelsea meet with silverware on the line for the second time this season, as the League Cup Final hits Wembley Stadium at 11:30 a.m. ET on Sunday.

[ FOLLOW: Lineups, play-by-play, box score ]

Pep Guardiola‘s City beat Maurizio Sarri‘s Blues 2-0 for the Community Shield in August.

There are stars on the bench for both sides, with Gonzalo Higuain missing for Chelsea and Leroy Sane waiting for his call from Guardiola.

LINEUPS

Chelsea: Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Rudiger, Emerson, Jorginho, Kante, Barkley, Willian, Hazard, PedroSubs: Caballero, Christensen, Kovacic, Loftus-Cheek, Hudson-Odoi, Giroud, Higuain.

Manchester City: Ederson, Zinchenko, Laporte, Otamendi, Walker, Fernandinho, Silva (C), De Bruyne, Bernardo, Sterling, Aguero. Subs: Muric, Danilo, Kompany, Gundogan, Sane, Mahrez, Foden.

League Cup Final preview: Sarri, Pep match wits for 4th time

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Sunday’s League Cup Final could be a moment for one manager to right his ship, or drive the other to the start of an improbable quadruple.

Chelsea’s Maurizio Sarri duels with Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola on Sunday at Wembley Stadium, just 14 days after the latter outmaneuvered the former to the tune of a 6-0 shellacking at the Etihad Stadium.

[ RECAP: West Ham 3-1 Fulham ]

The loss was Chelsea’s second to City this season, though the Blues did manage a 2-0 defeat in league play at Stamford Bridge on Dec. 8.

It’s also the second time the two will go head-to-head for silverware, as Man City outlasted Chelsea 2-0 for the Community Shield on Aug. 5.

That loss to City didn’t send the Chelsea faithful scurrying from “Sarriball,” but they’ve become far less supportive of the Blues’ boss.

And Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger says Friday is a chance for his side to show the supporters the better side of what Sarri has implemented at Stamford Bridge.

“That will show the truth,” Rudiger said. “That will show our way this ­season. It will be the truth in terms of  keeping up with opponents like City Liverpool and Tottenham. What if it shows we are not that close? Then that is the reality.”

“You always play for your manager but you want results. You want to win. No player likes to have the kind of run we’ve had.”

Rudiger is a quote-giving marvel. Chelsea needs to keep him just for the departure from the norm he provides the media.

As for Guardiola, he’s also supportive of Sarri and thinks the Blues faithful should take a step back. He references the heat given to Antonio Conte the year after he won a Premier League crown.

Guardiola is also not thrilled that the 6-0 result is the last time City played Chelsea. From The London Evening Standard:

“In that moment I was so happy to beat them 6-0, but now in this moment I would prefer not to have beaten them 6-0. I don’t like to play in a short period of time when you’ve beaten them by so much,” he said. “They are incredible professional players, they are proud, they will do extra.”

“When we lost there and when we won here, my opinion of Sarri and his teams is always high. When we reviewed the game against us, maybe people don’t believe me, but they did incredible things.”

They’ll have to do more incredible things Sunday at Wembley, or City will lay claim to its fourth League Cup title in six tries (and seventh overall).

The winner Sunday will have the second-most League Cup wins in history.