Josep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City shakes hands with Maurizio Sarri, Manager of Chelsea during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on December 8, 2018 in London, United Kingdom
Thursday night's 3-0 home win against Malmo in the Europa League offered some brief respite for under-fire manager Maurizio Sarri but he remains favourite for the chop.
A 6-0 hammering by Manchester City in their last Premier League outing left Chelsea sixth in the table and struggling to claim a Champions League spot via a top-four finish.
Last weekend's 2-0 home defeat in the FA Cup fifth round by Manchester United saw some of the Stamford Bridge faithful turn on the Italian who admitted afterwards some of his players still do not understand his so-called "Sarri-ball" tactics.
As if poor form on the pitch was not enough, Friday's announcement that the club was banned from the next two transfer windows because of breaches of FIFA's rules relating to the international transfers of minors, deepened the gloom.
The week could still end well, however, if Chelsea upset a rampant City and claim the season's first domestic silverware in what will be the first major final between the clubs.
Should that happen it would be Sarri's first trophy as a coach compared to the 20 major honours collected by City manager Pep Guardiola who opened his account in England by winning the League Cup last season against Arsenal.
City will be on a high after Wednesday's 3-2 Champions League win away to Schalke -- their 13th victory in 14 matches in all competitions.
Manchester City boss Guardiola has injury concerns over Gabriel Jesus, John Stones and Fabian Delph, who all missed the victory over Schalke, while he said he is yet to decide whether goalkeeper Aro Muric, who has played throughout the League Cup run, will retain his place ahead of Ederson for the final.
For Chelsea, Pedro remains a doubt through illness, as does Davide Zappacosta. Kepa Arrizabalaga's hamstring will be monitored with Willy Caballero, a willing and capable understudy.
Pep Guardiola: I don't like to play in a short period of time against one team when you have beaten them. (Chelsea) are incredible professional players, they are proud and they will do extra (on Sunday). In the moment, I was so happy but today, I wish we hadn't beaten them 6-0!
Chelsea and Manchester City are set to face in a League Cup final for the first time – both sides have won the trophy five times previously, with only Liverpool winning it more often (eight times).
This is the first League Cup meeting between Chelsea and Manchester City since the third round in 1993-94, when Brian Horton’s City side won 1-0 at Maine Road with a goal from David White.
Excluding Community Shield matches, Chelsea and Manchester City have only met in the final of a competition on one previous occasion – the 1985-86 Full Members Cup final at Wembley, a 5-4 victory for Chelsea, which remains the highest scoring final in Wembley history.
Manchester City, 2018 winners of the League Cup against Arsenal, are looking to become only the fourth team to retain the trophy in consecutive years, after Man Utd (2009 and 2010), Liverpool (four years between 1981 and 1984) and Nottingham Forest (1978 and 1979 & 1989 and 1990).
Chelsea have already lost three times at Wembley this season, losing in the Community Shield against Manchester City and in the Premier League and League Cup semi-final against Spurs.
Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus has scored more goals than any other player in this season’s League Cup (5) – but all five have come against League One sides (one v Oxford, four v Burton). Jesus has never scored a League Cup goal against Premier League opposition (5 games, 0 goals).
Should one, or more, of Manchester City trio David Silva, Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero score, they could become the first players to score in back-to-back League Cup finals since Didier Drogba did so for Chelsea in 2006-07 and 2007-08.
Since the start of the 2012-13 season, no player has been involved in more League Cup goals for a Premier League side than Chelsea’s Eden Hazard (14 - 8 goals, 6 assists).
Sergio Aguero has scored 13 goals in 16 appearances in all competitions against Chelsea for Manchester City, only scoring more often against Newcastle United for the Citizens (15).
Only three players have scored more goals for a top-flight club against an opponent at Wembley than Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has against Chelsea (3) – Harry Kane against Southampton and Eric Cantona against Liverpool (4 goals) and Ian Rush against Everton (5 goals).
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri could become the second Italian to win the League Cup, after Gianluca Vialli who won the trophy with the Blues in 1998.
No team has had more scorers in this season’s League Cup than Manchester City (8, level with Norwich City and West Ham).