Chelsea keeper Caballero calls for substance over style in Carabao Cup final

Chelsea should focus on substance over style to win Sunday’s Carabao Cup final with Manchester City, according to goalkeeper Willy Caballero.

The 37-year-old Argentinian could deputise for Kepa Arrizabalaga at Wembley against his former club after the Spaniard missed Thursday’s Europa League last-32 win over Malmo with a hamstring problem.

Caballero watched on from the substitutes’ bench as Chelsea lost 6-0 at the Etihad Stadium on February 10; two weeks on the Blues face Pep Guardiola’s side with the season’s first silverware at stake.

Kepa Arrizabalaga
Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga is a doubt for Sunday’s Carabao Cup final (Nick Potts/PA)

Maurizio Sarri’s stubborn resistance to changing his favoured 4-3-3 formation and possession-based style has been scrutinised of late with the result against City – Chelsea’s worst in 28 years – swiftly following a 4-0 defeat at Bournemouth.

“Everything’s important, but if you win sometimes you forget how you play or what you did wrong,” said Caballero, who is ready to play at Wembley.

“If he (Kepa) cannot play I am ready.”

Maurizio Sarri
Maurizio Sarri refuses to compromise on his footballing principles despite his precarious position as Chelsea head coach (Nick Potts/PA)

Chelsea began the competitive season with an 18-match unbeaten run, but have been inconsistent since as they wrestle with ‘Sarri-ball’.

They inflicted City’s first defeat of the season on December 8, winning 2-0 at Stamford Bridge, but the humiliating losses at Bournemouth and City followed, leaving Sarri’s position precarious.

Caballero added: “It doesn’t matter the score – it does matter what we did, what we did wrong. Hopefully we improve from the result in this game.

“Also, we can’t forget we won against them here. So we have one fantastic game against them, another horrendous game.

“These kind of defeats hurt a lot, but this means that we have a good group of very good players in the squad. The most important thing is what we achieve in the next game and against Malmo we did well.”

The Blues responded from Monday’s 2-0 FA Cup loss to Manchester United, during which home fans jeered Sarri, by beating Malmo 3-0 on Thursday night.

They will face Dynamo Kiev in the last-16 after the draw on Friday, which followed news of a two-window transfer ban imposed by FIFA for breaching regulations over the recruitment of minors.

Striker Olivier Giroud scored his sixth goal in seven Europa League games on Thursday night, but is likely to be a substitute at best at Wembley, with Gonzalo Higuain expected to start.

Olivier Giroud
Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud has won four FA Cups and now wants a Carabao Cup win (Adam Davy/PA)

Giroud joined Chelsea under Antonio Conte in January 2018 and could be about to experience a third manager. He compared the managerial revolving door at Stamford Bridge to the stability of his Arsenal spell, where Arsene Wenger was a constant.

The 32-year-old France World Cup winner said: “It’s a different arrangement, a different club. I played five and a half years for Arsenal with the same coach.

“Sometimes you have to adapt yourself for this kind of event. But we are professional, we are football players. We need always to step up, no matter what happens. We need to stick together.”

Giroud has won three FA Cups with Arsenal and last season’s with Chelsea.

The France World Cup winner said: “Hopefully I will be the lucky charm.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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