Can Wenger weave his magic against City?

Despite Arsenal being out of the EPL title race and the FA Cup, Arsene Wenger could yet turn things around with a win in the EFL Cup final against Manchester City.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has not tasted success in EFL Cup finals in two attempts.   -  AFP

 

Arsenal hasn't had the best of campaigns as it trails leader Manchester City by 27 points and finds itself sitting in the sixth spot on the Premier League table. While its hopes of winning a first EPL title since the 2003-04 season have all but vanished, to make add to its woes, the side also gave away its FA Cup title rather meekly in a disappointing 2-4 loss to Nottingham Forest in the third round.

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However, it's not all gloom and doom for Arsene Wenger as he has a chance at redemption in the form of the League Cup final, where his side will take on Pep Guardiola's Manchester City on Sunday. Wenger, who has been at the helm of the club since 1996, will be eager to lift the trophy as it remains the only major prize in English football that he has continued to elude him.

The win could prove to be a massive morale-booster for the remainder of the season as the Gooners gun for a top-four finish and a strong show in the Europa League.

Though his team has endured a tough season, Wenger, however, has a knack of performing when people have written him off. When there was widespread anger over the club's poor run last season, with certain sections of supporters displaying their discontentment with "Wenger Out" banners, the Frenchman pulled a trick out of his hat and earned the side an FA Cup win.

However, a lot has changed since that triumph, especially post the January transfer window. The Emirates saw three of its star players - Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott, and Olivier Giroud - exit the club.

Wenger was forced to let go of club-favorite Sanchez to arch-rival Manchester United in return for Armenian play-maker Henrikh Mkhitaryan, while Walcott sealed a move to Everton and Giroud made his way to defending champion, Chelsea.

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Despite the departure of three key players, the side has been bolstered by the arrival of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for a record fee of £56m. The Gabon striker will lead the goal-scoring duties as he averaged two goals every three games during his time in Germany.

And the side will also take solace from the fact that Mkhitaryan has made a promising start to his Arsenal career. He became the first Arsenal player to provide three or more assists in a Premier League game since Santi Cazorla in 2013 when he crafted three assists during Arsenal's 5-1 over Everton earlier this month.

A determined Arsenal squad led by Mesut Ozil, who chose to remain with the side until 2021, will come out all guns blazing to give a seemingly invincible City side a run for its money. And despite testing times and a change in personnel, Wenger could weave his magic and go on to make history on Sunday night.