Pep Guardiola secured his first trophy in English football after his Manchester City team brushed Arsenal aside to lift the Carabao Cup at Wembley, inflicting the Gunners’ heaviest defeat in a cup final.
The Blues responded in the most convincing fashion after being shocked by Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup last Monday, but now Guardiola has a taste for success in England he can focus on Premier League and Champions League glory.
Sergio Aguero opened the scoring after a route-one ball from goalkeeper Claudio Bravo with 18 minutes gone. The Argentine made the most of Shkodran Mustafi’s poor defending and lofted his finish over David Ospina who came rushing off his line.
Arsenal looked lacklustre from start to finish although they could have taken an early lead when newly signed striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was denied from six yards out by a superb save from the City number one.
The Blues’ captain Vincent Kompany put the game to bed after getting a toe to Ilkay Gundogan’s cross-shot just before the hour mark.
David Silva all but confirmed Guardiola’s first English trophy with a low powerful drive past Ospina.
The Belgian centre-back has had the most unfortunate two years battling with injury after injury and missing the majority of the last two seasons. He only featured in 22 out of 59 games in the 15/16 season and the following year was involved in only 15 out of 56.
While only playing 13 of the 43 games so far this season, Kompany took to the stage of Wembley and rolled back the years to the delight of Guardiola on the sidelines.
The 31-year-old matched Aubameyang stride for stride for the 90 minutes and he also played a part in City’s attacks as they looked to take control in the second half.
He came close to scoring minutes before he got the goal he deserved. Kompany struck from 15 yards out but saw his effort deflected just wide of the post. Soon after he was quickest to react to Gundogan’s effort which doubled the lead for City.
Arsenal had performed well in this season’s Carabao Cup up to when it mattered most. If there was a moment to sum up The Gunners’ poor performance it would have to be Mustafi claiming to be fouled after Aguero scored the first goal.
Once Kompany had settled the game after scoring City’s second, the Arsenal players wandered aimlessly back to the centre to kick off a game they just wanted to come to an end.
The Gunners’ fans began to leave after Silva secured the cup win in the 75th minute, and by the time ref Craig Pawson blew for full time their half of the stadium was almost empty.
This is the only domestic trophy Arsene Wenger hasn’t won in his 21-year managerial career with Arsenal and he wasn’t going to end this drought as his team looked mediocre in comparison to a blistering Manchester City.
The Frenchman has now equalled Sir Alex Ferguson’s unwanted record of losing the League Cup final three times in his career, with the Gunners losing their last three finals in this competition (2007, 2011 and 2018).
Aguero opened the scoring with a cool finish and worked tirelessly as a one-man striker for his team.
The 29-year-old has scored in each of his last five games against the Gunners and has 15 goals in 13 in this calendar year, which is more than any player in the top five European Leagues.
It was the number ten’s 199th goal for the club and he came close to making it 200 at Wembley when he tried to chip Ospina again, however, Laurent Koscielny was there to cover his team-mate and clear the ball off the line.
The teams clash again on Thursday in the Premier League, when Arsenal host Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium. The Gunners will be looking for revenge which will strengthen their hopes of a Champions League place whereas Manchester City will look to extend their lead at the top of the table to 16 points.