Kyle Walker cuts in from the right on to his left foot against his old club and rolls the ball across the 18-yard line to Fernandinho but as he funnels the ball forward. City run out of room and Tottenham usher it out for a goal-kick.
Spurs fans by far the louder so far. We’ve had the slow ‘When the Spurs go marching in’ and ‘He’s one of our own …’
Guardiola is on his feet and shouting at Cancelo and Sterling.
After taking a knee, City kick off. Each club has 2,000 fans and there are 4,000 ‘neutrals’ as part of the test event. De Bruyne is playing as the false nine, Foden slightly to the left, Sterling wide left.
Welcome back to the fans. I’m happy to see them. A final. it will be great to win. It is always a strong team, the one we select. Are you saying it’s not strong? All the teams we select are strong.
We expect [of them] an aggressive team, high pressing, always Spurs is a tough game for us for five years, a top-class team. They have pace up front and movement in behind. We can’t expect anything less.
Sparser crowd than usual for this proud day in the energy drink calendar, but still heartening to see fans on their way to Wembley. Closest thing I’ve seen to agg is some performative outrage for a fan YouTube channel. Main gripe seemed to be Spurs’ lack of squad depth. How quickly we forget…
Of course, it would have been hard to imagine this a week ago. That’s football: things happen that you don’t expect. You have to be ready and prepared, and thankfully I have been. It’s been a good, positive week. Wednesday’s win over Southampton was important for us – and we’re looking forward to today.
Harry said he’s fit, so that’s enough for me. He’s trained with the group and he’s ready to go.
Getting a bit livelier now as kick off nears, but nothing which would feature in a Danny Dyer “documentary”. Spurs fans on their phones unhappy with starting line up, City’s enjoying one anothers’ diverse taste in retro shirts. Pockets of noise bubbling up and down Olympic Way, the forgotten sounds of tuneless chanting.
What’s the opposite of muitinous? That’s the mood here at Wembley, or the secure perimeter area of it I’ve been allowed to wander around. Plenty of residual anger among the fans I’ve spoken to about the Super League, but a sense it’s already fading. Not a protest in sight, plenty of joy instead, everyone just delighted to be going to a football match again.
🚨There are currently delays on the London Underground Metropolitan and Jubilee lines to Wembley Park Station. Spectators heading to Wembley Stadium should use Bakerloo line services, London Overground services from London Euston or Chiltern Rail services from London Marylebone🚨 pic.twitter.com/OgtVsFts3S
Seven days on from the announcement of the Dirty Dozen’s Super League conspiracy, we have our first meeting between two of the plotters in a match which, had their owners got their way, would have been rendered utterly meaningless by their decision to take the money and run off to an etiolated privateer league designed solely to flog more nylon to the people of Taiwan. What’s a three-handled silver cup when you can hoover up a £300m golden hello from JP Morgan and Florentino Perez.
Manchester City were the first of the 12 plotters formally to cut and run, opting for the sack-cloth and ashes of remorse without reform. They’re sorry for provoking such an excoriating backlash to their attempt to pervert 133 years of our football history and steal the game from those on whose backs and bucks it was built but are only sorry about the backlash not what caused it – their greed and monstrous sense of entitlement.
Oh, and they would like us to stop talking about it now, if we could be so kind, and hey, come on, let’s not punish the clubs with points deductions unlike those numerous clubs run into the ground by their owners, again through no fault of their fans, who have been sanctioned over the years. A punch-up at Old Trafford between Arsenal and Manchester United in 1990-91 cost Arsenal two points and United one. So what price sedition?
Right, on to the game: Spurs have an odd history in this competition during Enic’s ownership. In 1999 they won it (in a year when George Graham became manager), in 2002 they were runners-up (shortly after Glenn Hoddle became manager), in 2008 they won it again (after Juande Ramos joined mid-season) lost the final a year later (when Harry Redknapp had joined after the sacking of Ramos) and 2015 (in Maurcio Pochettino’s first season as manager). Now, once again under Daniel Levy, they have a new manager in a year where they make it to the final. What does this tell us? Probably nothing. It’s a coincidence rather than an omen. City, who have won five of the past seven League Cups, are looking for a fourth in succession today which would take them level with Liverpool with eight in total.
Both sides have injury issues hanging over their best players Kevin De Bruyne and Harry Kane. City’s team captain should feature in the match-day squad but John Stones is suspended for his red card at Villa Park and Pep Guardiola has admitted the Champions League tie against PSG is weighing on his mind as he ponders selection. Zack Steffen has played throughout this competition and should continue in goal, Raheem Sterling, not a big game regular at the moment, should also start and Fernandinho, club captain, Joao Cancelo, Aymeric Laporte, Nathan Ake and Benjamin Mendy are also clamouring for starting places. Sergio Aguero returned to training last week and might make the bench for a last Wembley appearance in the light blue.
Kane is more go than touch, though anyone who remembers his performance in the Champions League final after a lengthier lay-off might have their doubts about how fit he is. If he doesn’t start Lucas Moura could continue up front in his absence while persisting with Gareth Bale, after his midweek goal, is sure to endear Ryan Mason to his boss. Ben Davies is the only player definitively ruled out with injury.