I’m backing Manchester City to lift the Carabao Cup today.
But if they do, I bet the celebrations will be short.
It won’t be a wild party, with the trophy dragged around a selection of London’s hippest nightspots.
Nope. It will be a brief acknowledgement of a job well done, then a lightning-fast refocusing on the challenges to come.
City won’t rest on their laurels if they dump Chelsea at Wembley today.
Instead, the feeling will be: “One trophy down, three to go.”
I won’t mince my words here.
I think City are good enough to claim what would be a landmark quadruple.
Don’t get me wrong, it won’t be easy.
But Pep Guardiola’s squad has been designed and built to handle the toughest tasks in the game.
The bookies agree with me.
City are as low as 8/1 to win the Carabao Cup, the Premier League, the FA Cup AND the Champions League.
When you consider what a big ask that is, it starts to look like a very low price.
Topping off a clean sweep of domestic awards with European club football’s most prestigious trophy doesn’t happen very often for a reason – it’s damn hard!
Celtic’s Lisbon Lions famously did it in in 1967, becoming the first British club to win the European Cup, after sweeping up all three domestic trophies in Scotland.
But no English club has EVER achieved a quadruple before.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United came close in 1999, claiming the Premier League title, the FA Cup and the Champions League, but falling at the quarter-final hurdle in the League Cup.
City would write their name in the history books if they did it this year.
And if the first piece of the puzzle falls into place today, that’s one hell of an incentive to get the rest of the job done.
Chelsea stand between Guardiola’s geniuses and their first trophy of the season.
For me, the Blues don’t have enough about them to stop City in their tracks.
In fact, I reckon today could be boss Maurizio Sarri’s last stand.
The Italian has lost the fans at Stamford Bridge – and I’ve heard the evidence with my own ears.
I was co-commentating on Manchester United’s FA Cup win over Sarri’s side on Monday night, and the home fans weren’t holding back.
“Bring back Mourinho!” was one chant I heard from them. And the Chelsea support was also joining in when the United fans taunted Sarri with; “You’re getting sacked in the morning!”
When that happens, it’s only going to be a matter of time until the axe falls.
Unless there’s a miracle . . .
Chelsea do have one man capable of winning a game near-enough on his own in the shape of Eden Hazard.
If they are to upset the odds against City today, he is the key.
Sarri’s side have good players in every area of the park, but Hazard is the one truly top-drawer player they’ve got.
Pep has got them in every position – and that’s what Chelsea are up against.
City showed their quality away to Schalke in the Champions League in midweek, picking up a 3-2 win in Germany.
It was a performance that proved they are really starting to click in Europe, as they already have domestically.
Their rivals are starting to wobble.
But I reckon City will be solid from now until the end of what could be a record-breaking season.