It is a season during which Manchester United are carving out a name for themselves as cup kings, but Sunday supplies the first opportunity to actually add a major trophy to the cabinet when they take on Southampton at Wembley in the EFL Cup final.
Jose Mourinho's side continue to fight on four fronts, with their quest for a top-four spot running alongside the push for glory in the Europa League, FA Cup and Sunday's first showpiece of the season against Claude Puel's Saints.
Having come back from their trip to France this week with a 4-0 aggregate win over Saint-Etienne safely secured, United will be confident they can extend the run which has seen them suffer only one defeat in 25 matches. And, as Mourinho is at pains to point out, that sole setback came too late for Hull City as United triumphed 3-2 overall in the EFL Cup semi-final.
MAN UTD INJURIES
Mourinho has confirmed that Henrikh Mkhitaryan will miss the final due to the hamstring injury the Armenian picked up at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on Wednesday
Michael Carrick also went off in the same game with a calf problem, but the experienced midfielder is available to face Southampton.
Wayne Rooney will come back into the reckoning following his return to training after illness and injury, but he is unlikely to make the first XI. Meanwhile, a late decision will be made on Phil Jones, who has been absent of late due to the foot injury he sustained against Hull City on February 1.
Joel Pereira's knee ligament damage is the only other major concern, leaving Dean Henderson and Kieran O'Hara as back-ups to regular keepers David de Gea and Sergio Romero.
MAN UTD SUSPENSIONS
United have no worries domestically over disciplinary measures, with Eric Bailly's one-match ban from his sending-off at Saint-Etienne applying only to European fixtures. Paul Pogba collected his eighth domestic booking of the season at Leicester, making him the closest thing United have to a suspension concern. The Frenchman will be banned for one match in the event that he picks up two further yellow cards before the next amnesty date of April 9.
Like United, Southampton are free of suspension worries for Sunday's final.
MAN UTD POTENTIAL STARTING LINE-UP
Mourinho's options for the second visit of the season to the Wembley arch have been limited somewhat by the injuries sustained in midweek by Mkhitaryan and Carrick. Had Wayne Rooney been fit and available in recent weeks then he might have found himself back in the reckoning for a starting place in light of the high-profile absences, but his lack of conditioning having missed so much training could see Juan Mata take up the number 10 role.
Paul Pogba could be dropped into one of the two deeper midfield roles to cover for the loss of Carrick, allowing Mourinho to start with both Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial without having to forego Mata.
At the back, Mourinho's only real selection headache revolves around Marcos Rojo. It may be harsh on the Argentine should he miss out on a starting place, but with Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling settling in as a familiar pairing and Daley Blind looking more accomplished as a left-back than Rojo, he may well be overlooked for this one.
SOUTHAMPTON TEAM NEWS
Southampton secured a shock passage to the Wembley final by beating Liverpool home and away in their two-legged semi-final, booking their first trip to the national stadium since the 2010 Johnstone's Paint Trophy final in which the Saints line-up included the likes of Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Michail Antonio.
Since their promotion from League One the following summer, the south-coast club have gone from strength to strength with Nigel Adkins, Mauricio Pochettino, Ronald Koeman and Puel all succeeding in bringing varying levels of delight to long-suffering Saints fans.
This season they have been rather inconsistent but remain safely ensconced in mid-table, giving them the chance to focus on Sunday's final free from the stress of Premier League survival worries.
They have also received the recent boost of Manolo Gabbiadini's three goals in two games after arriving from Napoli in the January transfer window. The Italy international, who has also played for Atalanta, Cittadella, Bologna and Sampdoria, cost the Saints £15 million.
BEST OPTA MATCH FACTS
This will be Manchester United’s ninth League Cup final appearance; of the previous eight, they have won four and lost four, but three of those four victories have been in their last three finals (2006 v Wigan, 2009 v Spurs and 2010 v Aston Villa).
Only Liverpool (12) have appeared in more League Cup finals than Man Utd (9) and only Arsenal (5) have lost more finals than the Red Devils (4).
Southampton are just the second side in League Cup history to reach the final without conceding a goal – Tottenham Hotspur managed this feat in 1981-82, but lost the final 3-1 to Liverpool.
This is the second time these sides have met in the final of a competition, having met in the 1976 FA Cup final. Southampton, then a second tier side, defeated United 1-0 thanks to a Bobby Stokes goal; it remains the only time they have won a major English trophy.
Jose Mourinho has reached the League Cup final three times previously (2005, 2007 and 2015), winning the trophy each time with Chelsea. Indeed, he has the best 100% win percentage for a manager in League Cup finals.
Only Brian Clough (4) and Sir Alex Ferguson (4) have won the League Cup more times than Jose Mourinho (3). Mourinho has never lost an English domestic cup final in his career, also winning the FA Cup in 2007.
TV COVERAGE & KICK-OFF TIME
The first cup final of the English season kicks-off at 4:30pm on Sunday, with TV coverage in the UK getting underway at 3:45pm on Sky Sports 1. Andre Marriner has been handed the honour of refereeing the showpiece occasion.