Aston Villa’s Carabao Cup campaign reaches its climax on Monday when they walk out at Wembley to take on Manchester City
Game: Aston Villa vs Manchester City
Date: Monday 2nd March
Competition: Carabao Cup Final
Venue: Wembley Stadium
Dean Smith’s men are chasing a sixth League Cup triumph after beating Crewe, Brighton, Wolves, Liverpool and Leicester City to reach the final.
Trezeguet’s dramatic injury-time winner against the Foxes booked Villa’s place in their first League Cup final appearance since 2010.
Manchester City have won the competition on six occasions, boosted by their recent domination of the trophy that has seen them win it in three of the past four seasons.
Pep Guardiola’s team have seen off Preston, Southampton, Oxford and Manchester United on their journey to Wembley.
Raheem Sterling is City’s top scorer in the competition, striking three times so far.
The two teams have met 171 times in all competitions, including their first encounter back in 1899.
Villa have won 57, drawn 41 and lost 73 of the meetings between the two clubs.
12 different players have scored for Aston Villa on their route to the final: Conor Hourihane, Jack Grealish, Ezri Konsa, Fred Guilbert, Keinan Davis, Jota, Jonathan Kodjia, Wesley, Trezeguet, Ahmed Elmohamady, Matt Targett and Anwar El Ghazi.
Villa have scored the most goals in the Carabao Cup this season, finding the net 19 times in six matches.
At Friday’s press conference, Dean Smith officially ruled out John McGinn from featuring in the final. The midfielder has been stepping up his return but the game will come too soon for him.
Villa’s long-term absentees are Tom Heaton, Jed Steer and Wesley.
Opponents Manchester City have a dilemma in defence after Aymeric Laporte limped off during their Champions League win against Real Madrid in midweek.
The centre-back has since been ruled out for three to four weeks and joins Leroy Sane on the sidelines.
“When I saw the team sheet [against Real Madrid] and saw David Silva wasn’t playing, Sergio Aguero wasn’t playing and Sterling wasn’t playing, I thought they must be worried about playing Aston Villa!
“They’re a fantastic team, whichever 11 they put out, and they have a fantastic coach. That’s why they’re such massive favourites in the game and why they can go to a place like the Bernabeu and get a result like they did.
“We also know that we can push them. We went there earlier in the season and there was an absolute belief that we could beat them that day. I like being the underdog because we can go out and play without anyone expecting us to win, but we have also have that drive to prove people wrong.”