Published: Sun, February 25, 2018
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Wenger confirms star duo should be fit for Carabao Cup final

Wenger confirms star duo should be fit for Carabao Cup final

It was topical before Wenger's meeting with Guardiola in Sunday's Carabao Cup final at Wembley and it felt like an open goal for him - at the very least - to offer a couple of positive soundbites.

He said: "He is a modern midfielder for me, he can be decisive in the final third". Manchester City are also one of the Champions League favourites.

On this day, that superiority will again mean Guardiola plays his normal Kevin De Bruyne-centred game with a few minor tactical tweaks, putting the onus on Wenger to come up with something. Because Manchester City is dominating the league in the head of everybody and so maybe we are more underdogs than in the FA Cup semi-final [last season, which Arsenal won 2-1].

Toure has praised both sides' style of football, but believes City have more quality and will clinch the silverware at Wembley Stadium.

Last season they finished fifth and Arsene Wenger's side are now being left behind in sixth spot as they prepare to face runaway Premier League leaders City at Wembley.

Wenger will point to the three FA Cups he has won in the past four seasons, including last season when they denied Chelsea a league and cup double. They're not going to have a lot of the ball, what will it be? They went on to beat Chelsea in the final. They're not catching him.

Their hopes of returning to the Champions League may well depend on whether they can go on and win the Europa League, having stumbled into the last 16 despite a 2-1 home defeat by Swedish club Ostersunds on Thursday.

Pressed on Guardiola's demands, Wenger replied: "Extra protection?"

The story of a true football great like Wenger still winning trophies at this stage of his career, still adding sparkle to his record, should not be discounted either. He's a player who has a higher average number of goals and assists than Granit Xhaka and Jack Wilshere, while he creates more chances and makes more tackles than all of Arsenal's central midfielders put together.

He said: "We are now involved in three so we are going, of course, to win". That's all and on Sunday we are going to try again. The simple fact is nobody has won more than us. Look at the big clubs - for example, Liverpool.

Guardiola was charged by the FA on Friday for "wearing a political message" in the FA Cup defeat to Wigan after ignoring two formal warnings since mid-December. He has mastered his Manchester City side perfectly and has made them look ruthless across Europe.

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