This match certainly means a lot for Sunderland, a squad currently sitting in the relegation zone in the English Premier League table. Despite the lack of league success, the club can clinch a spot in next year's Europa League with a win in this final.
It would also be the first tournament trophy for Sunderland since winning the FA Cup in 1973.
On the other hand, Manchester City still have their sights on a potential quadruple—wins in the EPL, League Cup, FA Cup and Champions League. While the last of those competitions looks bleak thanks to a 2-0 deficit against Barcelona, a comeback is not out of the question.
However, City must first set their eyes on the upcoming match against Sunderland. Although they enter the day as the overwhelming favorite, anything can happen in one match on a neutral field.
Both sides are likely to give everything they have to get a win in this final round at Wembley Stadium.
Who will win?
When: Sunday, March 2
Where: Wembley Stadium, London, England
Time (U.S.): 9 a.m. ET
Time (U.K.): 2 p.m. GMT
Watch (U.S.): beIN Sports
Watch (U.K.): Sky Sports 1
Live Stream: beIN Sports Play
Odds (via Oddschecker): Manchester City (1-4), Sunderland (9-1), Draw (5-1)
Top Storyline: Will Sergio Aguero Make an Impact?
Manchester City have proven throughout the season that they have a deep attack full of players who can get onto the scoresheet. However, Sergio Aguero is the star of the group and by far the most dangerous with the ball.
The problem is that the forward has missed a month with a hamstring injury, causing the squad to struggle without him. The team only has a single goal in the past three EPL matches after scoring 68 in the first 23.
Fortunately, ESPN FC reports that Aguero is fit to return for the Capital One Cup final:
This should make a big difference for Manchester City if he is able to play for a long duration. OptaJoe points out how dangerous the forward has been this season when on the pitch:
115 - Sergio Aguero has the best minutes per goal rate in @PremierLeague history scoring on average every 115 minutes. Delivered.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 26, 2014
Sunderland could struggle to contain the Argentine, and the attention will open up lanes for other players to make plays.
The only question is how effective Aguero will be after missing so much time. If he is limited, it could mean trouble for the favorites.
Prediction: Manchester City 2, Sunderland 0
Many top clubs simply ignore this tournament in order to keep players fresh for the most prestigious events. However, Yaya Toure points out why this is so important for Manchester City, via the club's official site:
We have an amazing squad and we are determined to win the Capital One Cup because we might not be quite there yet, but within the next couple of years I expect we will be one of the best teams in the world.
We are all dedicated to making this club great and we are not far away from being where we want to be.
Combining elite talent with the will to succeed is dangerous for any opposing club.
Between Aguero, Toure, Alvaro Negredo and David Silva, City have simply too many players to defend. They pass well and are aggressive around the net, giving them plenty of opportunities to score. At least a couple of those chances will lead to goals beyond Vito Mannone in net.
On the other side of the pitch, Sunderland's Adam Johnson has been effective, but he has received little help on the attack. Unless Jozy Altidore comes through with the performance of a lifetime, City will be able to bottle up the opposing offense and keep it a clean sheet.
The end result might be close, but Manchester City should have full control of the match before earning their first trophy of the year.
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