Manchester City do not have long to wait to forget the woes of Monday night. Facing off against Arsenal in the League Cup Final, it is a chance for Pep to get some silverware in the cabinet. Not as old, or prestigious as the FA Cup, the League Cup has been good to City.
Four times winners, another victory on Sunday would see City as the joint second most succesful side in the competition’s history. Victory would make City five time winners, and join Manchester United and Aston Villa in terms of competition success.
Yesterday it was the 1976, 2-1 defeat of Newcastle. Today I fast forward almost four decades where the Blues played the other half of the sides who make up the Tyne-wear derby. Sunderland would be City’s opponents who, under new manager Manuel Pellegrini, was looking for a League and cup double.
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On their way to the final, City had beaten Wigan, Newcastle and Leicester City before facing West Ham in the Semi Finals. Prior to the semi final, all the previous sides had been involved in cup Finals with City. Newcastle and Leicester were both dispatched in the League and FA Cups by the Blues. Of course, we still remember Wigan from the previous seasons FA Cup Final.
The second leg of the competition was a formality, with City hammering the hammers 6-0 at the Etihad. Even still, a 3-0 win at the Boleyn ground two weeks later, was much appreciated by the traveling fans.
City would go behind early in the Final though. Ex City player Adam Johnson slipped a ball to Fabio Borini who beat Costel Pantilimon to put the Black Cats a goal up. He could have made it two shortly after, but for a last-ditch tackle from Vincent Kompany.
Leading at the half, Sunderland fans must have been daring to dream. Two quick City goals, ten or so minutes into the second half, turned the tie on its head. First was a curling Yaya Toure strike, beating the Sunderland keeper, Mannone.
ALmost immediately after that, Samir Nasri was on the end of a deflected cross to put City in the lead. As Sunderland pressed, they began leaving gaps at the back. This invited fast City counter attacks, with Jesus Navas finishing off just such an attack in stoppage time.
Even though it was such a short period of time ago, only five players from that days squad have the chance of playing on Sunday. Vinent Kompany, Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, David Silva and, of course, Sergio Aguero.