Two sides who have contrasting seasons, is there an upset on the cards?
Winner: Manchester City 1/6, Sunderland 5/1.
Two sides that have had contrasting seasons meet below the Wembley arch to contest the first trophy of the season.
One side has been scoring goals for fun, beating the best teams around, and could lift all three domestic honours on offer this season – starting with this one. They’re a side full of superstars, that have handsomely beaten every side – apart from Newcastle United – en route to Wembley. Manchester City start this game as hot favourites as they look to lift their first League Cup since 1976.
Sunderland have never lifted the trophy before but were finalists in 1985 and their season could not have been more different. Their last major honour came in 1973, where they memorably beat Leeds United in the FA Cup final, 1-0.
Unlike title challenging City, they have been the side scrapping for their Premier League survival from the word go, they were almost knocked out in the second round by Milton Keynes Dons.
Paulo Di Canio was sacked, Gus Poyet arrived and under his stewardship they have beaten both Chelsea and Manchester United in memorable extra time and penalty shoot-out wins respectively to reach Wembley.
They are the side for the big occasion, have some confident players and one thing they have in their favour this season, they have beaten Manchester City already this season when they met at the Stadium of Light in November.
City have not been in their usually imperious form. Ever since their loss to Chelsea in the Premier League they have been held by Norwich City at Carrow Road and have been beaten by Barcelona on their own patch. However, they have got their revenge against Chelsea since, and dug out a gutsy Premier League win against Stoke City.
Sunderland's form has seen them lose their last two in the league but they have made the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, such as their form has been in knock-out competitions so far this season, and they have shown considerable signs of improvement in the league. If they are to win here, look out for their two men for the big occasions in Fabio Borini and Phil Bardsley.
Sergio Aguero will hope to be fit as City's most dangerous forward has been recovering from a hamstring injury for over a month, Stevan Jovetic has suffered another injury setback whilst Matija Nastasic could be included after a knee problem.
Sunderland will be hoping to have striker Stephen Fletcher fit enough after struggling with a calf problem.
Who will win? You'd be a fool to bet against City as the odds are stacked with them, but this Sunderland side under Gus Poyet seems to relish the big occasion, and in this crazy football season it wouldn't be too much of a surprise to see them claiming the first piece of silverware on offer this season. It should be a fascinating contest.
image: © stephoto27