It’s the big one this Sunday, and by that, we mean the Carabao Cup final between Chelsea and Manchester City, which is undoubtedly giving all football fans sleepless nights.
Of course, there will be some cynics who suggest that the Wembley clash isn’t the biggest game of the season, or in fact even the biggest game of Sunday afternoon as Manchester United are playing Liverpool just before.
In fact, it’s likely that several of the players involved will even have forgotten the game is on and those who are aware of it are probably starting to just feel a few tweaks in their hamstrings which really should be rested just in case.
However, with a little invention and a few very minor rule tweaks, the Carabao Cup final can be a day that fans remember for years to come. Here are a few very workable suggestions to send the football world Carabao crazy.
Introduce a live carabao
While it goes without saying that all of us are quaffing several cans of Carabao a day, we may not be as familiar with the red water buffalo which gives the energy drink its name.
It’s time to change that. At random intervals during the final, a thoroughly pissed off water buffalo should be introduced to the action to create an element of unpredictability.
Granted, a carabao tends to be quite docile most of the time, but with the roar of the crowd and the smell of the sacred turf of Wembley Stadium egging them on, we could see some aggressive gegenpressing.
David Silva may look calm in possession, but will he look quite so smooth with a 500kg carabao bearing down on him? Let’s find out.
No self-respecting footballer would ever be caught dead actually drinking Carabao, it would almost certainly burn a hole in their fragile insides.
But, what if for the purposes of the final, the players of both teams had to down a can of Carabao every five minutes?
Initially, the players may be buzzing with energy after the sugar burst, but before half-time they’ll be jittery, paranoid wrecks desperate to sprint down the tunnel to the toilets.
Whichever team can keep control of possession and their bowels will come out on top, but we can expect some Gary Lineker moments along the way.
Stir it up
There needs to be some edge in any good final and we want to see a few nasty, potentially career-ending tackles flying in.
To stir things up a little, the City players should wear a special commemorative ‘6-0’ kit to remind their Chelsea counterparts of the thrashing they dished out to them a couple of weeks ago.
As well as 6-0 written in huge lettering, the shirt should contain the league table with City’s vast lead over Chelsea highlighted and a cartoon picture of Roman Abramovich swinging an axe at Maurizio Sarri’s head.
It’s widely agreed that Sarri’s future at Chelsea is hanging by a thread and defeat in the Carabao Cup final could be the final straw that makes Roman Abramovich dispose of him.
So, what better way to crank up the jeopardy than to have the big screen showing Abramovich’s real-time reactions to the events of the game?
As Sarri paces up and down the sideline wishing he could light a cigarette he simply has to tilt his head upwards to see his boss’s snarling face as he works out just how much that severance payment is going to set him back.
VAR wheel of fortune
VAR may have divided the football world when it first came in, but now it has united all fans in agreement that VAR is rubbish.
As the mid-week Champions League games showed, VAR is a complete lottery and so why not run with that and make it a selling point?
Every time there’s a contentious decision the ref can send for VAR which consists of spinning a giant roulette wheel containing a series of outcomes ranging from ‘Goal’ to ‘No Goal – Scorer Sent Off’ or the more extreme ‘No Goal – Scorer Sent Off – Manager Sacked – Fans Riot’.