City secured a third League Cup triumph in five years with a sparkling 3-0 win over Arsenal at Wembley. Aside from an early scare, the Blues dominated the majority of the game with goals from Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany and David Silva seeing off the Gunners in style and securing the first piece of silverware under Pep Guardiola’s reign.
What happened? With thousands of blue flags waving in the background, captain Kompany led City out on to the Wembley turf with the team determined to get back on track after last Monday’s shock defeat to Wigan Athletic. The Carabao Cup offered Guardiola’s side the chance to secure the first available trophy of the domestic campaign and the 30,000 or so City fans inside the national stadium hoped the cobalt skies overhead were a portend of what lay ahead. The Blues began confidently with Leroy Sane and Aguero both looking sharp in attack but it was the Gunners who should have gone ahead on eight minutes. Jack Wilshere drove at the City defence, poking the ball through Kompany’s legs before Aaron Ramsey took over, playing it to Mesut Ozil whose low cross found Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang four yards from goal – but Claudio Bravo brilliantly saved with his feet and then his hands to keep the Gabon striker out. It was a let-off for the Blues who had been caught napping somewhat, but the travelling masses behind Bravo’s goal didn’t have to wait much longer for the opening goal. For all City’s delightful one-touch football from the back, it was a long ball forward that caught the Gunners rearguard out as Bravo launched a long punt upfield and as Aguero stood his ground on Mustafi. The Argentine then had a clear run through the middle and his deft lob over David Ospina gave the Blues the lead with 18 minutes played. Arsenal’s response was muted and the there were few chances in the remainder of the half, save for a clever chip from Aguero just before the break that almost undid Ospina again. City started the second-half like a side looking to wrap up the game as quickly as possible and Kompany came within a foot of doubling the lead just three minutes in with a deflected low drive. But the loss of Fernaninho with what looked like a muscle strain a few minutes later was a blow, particularly with back-to-back games with Arsenal and Chelsea to come in the next seven days. However, the loss of the Brazilian didn’t halt the momentum City were building up and just before the hour, it was 2-0. De Bruyne found Ilkay Gundogan on the edge of the box and the German’s low drive was diverted home by Kompany from close range and the skipper duly set off for a memorable celebration with the City fans. Who would deny the skipper such a moment in this, his tenth with the Club? The Blues, by now rampant, attacked almost at will and on 65 minutes, the game was effectively put to bed as Danilo spotted David Silva who took the ball in his stride as glided past Callum Chambers before slotting a low shot past Ospina for number three. So Silva, Kompany and Aguero on the scoresheet – all three, along with Fernandinho, the only survivors from the 2014 and 2016 League Cup successes. There were chances to further punish Arsenal in the time that remained, but the Blues had done more than enough to enjoy the last 25 minutes or so as the quest for one of the greatest campaigns in the Club’s history powered ahead.
Key moment? Claudio Bravo's brilliant double save on eight minutes came at a crucial moment with both teams finding their feet - superb from the Chilean who has been outstanding throughout the Carabao Cup adventure.
City Matchday App Star man: Vincent Kompany Inspirational display from the skipper who led from the front and scored the killer second goal.
What it means? City are the Carabao Cup champions for the fifth time in the Club's history.
What's next? City travel back to North London on Thursday to face Arsenal again, this time in the Premier League. Then it's back to the Etihad next Sunday where Chelsea are the visitors before hosting FC Basel in the second leg of the Round of 16 Champions League tie.