Chelsea striker Higuain benched for EFL Cup final

Gonzalo Higuain has been left on the bench for the EFL Cup final as Chelsea return to a formation without a designated forward against Manchester City.

Chelsea were thrashed 6-0 when the sides met in the Premier League earlier this month and under-fire coach Maurizio Sarri has made changes for Sunday's Wembley meeting.

Eden Hazard's role as a false nine has been bemoaned by many Blues fans this season, but he looks set to return to that position as Higuain, a January loan arrival, has only been named among the substitutes.

Hazard will be supported in attack by Willian and Pedro, while Emerson Palmieri comes in as the only other change to the team that played at the Etihad Stadium in their last league match.

Pep Guardiola has left regular EFL Cup goalkeeper Arijanet Muric on a strong City bench as Ederson starts, as does Oleksandr Zinchenko in place of Ilkay Gundogan.

Captain Vincent Kompany, who scored in last season's final win over Arsenal, is also a sub, along with Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez.

City are the EFL Cup holders and seeking the first trophy in what could yet be a quadruple-winning season for them.

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