Manchester City v Sunderland - Five key battles for the League Cup final

Here are some of the key battles which could break out during the League Cup final this weekend.

Manchester City and Sunderland go head-to-head this weekend for the first piece of available silverware this season when they meet in the League Cup final at Wembley on Sunday.

Manchester City are the favourites but Sunderland have secured some impressive wins in the competition so far and will be determined to respond to the drubbing they were handed by Arsenal in the Premier League last weekend.

There are going to be several key battles breaking out all over the pitch on Sunday afternoon. We’ve taken a look at some of the key match ups.

Costel Pantilimon v Vito Mannone

Both goalkeepers will have very big roles to play over the course of the 90 minutes, as they look to keep their teams in the match.

They both need to make saves at important times as well as commanding their back fours and distributing the ball well to ease pressure. Whichever ‘keeper is on top for and making saves from a variety of positions will be on the winning side.

Vincent Kompany v Jozy Altidore

Gus Poyet could opt for Altidore in attack to try and create a physical presence at the front of his team, giving someone for Vincent Kompany to get entrenched in a physical battle against.

Altidore needs to really back into the City defence to push them back and try and create some space in front of City’s back four.

Gael Clichy v Adam Johnson

Johnson has been in great form for the Black Cats since the turn of the year and he’ll feel as though he’s got a point to prove against his former employers.

He will more than likely adopt his normal tactic of cutting inside and onto his stronger left foot and he should try and take Clichy with him. If he can pull the left-back out of position, it leaves a gaping hole down one side of City’s team.

Yaya Toure v Jack Colback

Toure is one of the best in the business when it comes to bursting forward in an attack, putting defenders onto the back foot.

Colback’s job is not only to try and contain him but also to give Toure something to worry about in terms of how he breaks from Sunderland’s midfield. If he can force Toure to adopt a defensive mindset, it will make his job slightly easier.

Alvaro Negredo v John O’Shea

The City attacker will more than likely drift onto O’Shea’s side of the defence, looking to exploit his lack of pace.

The job for the experienced Sunderland man is to give himself the best chance of dealing with Negredo by dropping off quickly and giving himself the time to read the play and make a challenge.

image: © braveheartsportsnetwork

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