Martin Tyler previews the Carabao Cup final, Aston Villa’s ‘Eden Hazard’ and Man City’s mentality

Sky Sports commentator Martin Tyler speaks exclusively to RadioTimes.com about the upcoming Carabao Cup final as Aston Villa take on Man City at Wembley

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Martin Tyler

Martin Tyler will be casting his keen eye over another big spectacle this weekend as Aston Villa and Manchester City go head to head in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley.

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The instantly recognisable voice of Tyler will be joined by Gary Neville in the Sky Sports commentary box for the game with plenty of intriguing storylines in the build-up to the showdown.

RadioTimes.com spoke exclusively to Tyler ahead of the big game to get his thoughts on City’s mentality amid their brewing battle with UEFA – as they appeal against their two-year ban from the Champions League for contravening Financial Fair Play rules – and Villa’s go-to match-winner Jack Grealish and comparisons with one of the Premier League greats.

City head into the game as overwhelming favourites having won four League Cup trophies in the last six years, and Tyler believes the players need to shake away the club’s off-field issues and focus on fighting for their futures at the club.

“They have to clear their heads of what’s going to happen with UEFA.

“City stress – and they’re vehement – they’ve done nothing wrong but at the moment they are banned, so they have to live with that.

“The players are probably more concerned about how they fit into what could be a bit of a rebuild than what will happen with the UEFA situation.

Manchester City Kevin De Bruyne

“They have no control over the UEFA situation, yet in a way they have control over their futures because if they play well then they stay at the club.

“It’s an interesting time for Manchester City and they are strong favourites for the game.”

Strong favourites, but there are no dead certs in football, as Tyler’s experiences this week can testify.

“My week started with a lot of people writing off West Ham going to Anfield but the game was very close.

“West Ham put on the sort of performance Aston Villa will be looking to do with the odds against them.

“At times it’s an advantage to be the underdog because the expectation is less and within the camp Aston Villa will believe they can win.”

Leading the charge for relegation-battling Villa is homegrown hero Grealish.

The attacking superstar has been with the club since he was just six years old in 2001, and his gliding style has drawn comparisons with former Chelsea forward Eden Hazard, a hat-tip Tyler agrees with.

“Superb talent,” he nods. “Definitely you can see Eden Hazard, I get the comparison because Hazard was often the most fouled player in the Premier League and Jack is that. When you run with the ball, you invite challenges.

“Hazard always used to take it as a compliment when he was fouled, I haven’t spoken to Jack on the same thing but it could well be the same.

“I’ve seen quite a lot of him over the period he’s been at Aston Villa, a bit out of the limelight when they were out of the Premier League but still somebody to keep an eye on and somebody who kept cropping up.

Aston Villa Jack Grealish

“Villa have got match-winners, but there will be no underestimating from Guardiola and Man City.

“Of course their week is different, the preparation is different because they’re going from the Bernabeu to Wembley, and Villa are going from Bodymoor Heath to Wembley.”

While the players will be chewing over preparations in the build-up to Sunday, there’s one unflappable man with things all under control.

“Every game is the same for me, I promise you,” says Tyler. “Every game that’s live is an occasion that as a broadcaster you have to be as prepared for as the players are.

“You ask the players whether they’re not prepared for a run of the mill Premier League game, or an EFL game – they are.

“The next game is the most important game. The moment it finished at Anfield… I’ve been doing work on the train [to London] for Sunday.”


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Watch the Carabao Cup final live on Sky Sports Football (from 3:30pm) and Main Event (from 4:00pm)