Sam Hendry with the weekend’s big football bets
The first trophy of the season is at stake on Sunday when Arsenal face Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final
The League Cup is not a tournament Arsene Wenger has ever won and Arsenal’s favourable form at Wembley came to a crashing halt two weeks ago with defeat to Tottenham.
Both teams had shock defeats in their last outings; Arsenal beaten by Ostersunds in the Europa League while City were dumped out of the FA Cup in a fiery encounter with Wigan.
But given that was only City’s third defeat of the season – with one of those coming in a Champions League dead rubber – I can’t see them losing again and I’m backing Pep Guardiola to pick up his first trophy in English football.
As always, Arsenal have the ability to trouble a vulnerable City defence, particularly if they can exploit the left back area where Benjamin Mendy remains injured, Fabian Delph is suspended, and Danilo has been unconvincing.
For that reason, I’m going for Man City to win and both teams to score.
Preceding that fixture on Sunday afternoon is a match which could have a huge impact on the race for the top four when Chelsea meet Manchester United at Old Trafford.
For much of the season both have been comfortably in the Champions League places, but a combination of bad recent performances and the flying charges of Liverpool and Tottenham are threatening their places.
United have struggled for attacking cohesion since the arrival of Alexis Sanchez and Jose Mourinho doesn’t seem to have any idea what his best XI is, although it apparently does not include Paul Pogba.
For Chelsea, while Willian put in an excellent performance against Barcelona, he has struggled to do that consistently against the best teams so if United can nullify the threat of Eden Hazard then they stand a good chance of being victorious.
I could see either team sneaking it by a single goal, under 1.5 goals in the game is the selection here.
By the time of kick-off at Old Trafford, Tottenham could find themselves ahead of Chelsea and just a point behind United if they can take all three points from their match away to Crystal Palace.
Palace remain ravaged by injuries and Roy Hodgson’s good initial work after taking over early in the season is in danger of being undone as they slide back towards the relegation zone.
Spurs, on the other hand, are at full strength for the trip to Selhurst Park and were able to give valuable game time to the likes of Toby Alderweireld and Lucas Moura in the FA Cup last week.
Harry Kane has scored in each of his last four games and he can continue that run here and I’ll be backing him to score first.