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Arsenal 0-3 Manchester City: Three talking points from Wembley

Rob Meech brings us three talking points from Wembley as Manchester City reigned supreme against Arsenal to lift the 2017/18 Carabao Cup trophy.

Rob Meech



Manchester City
Photo: Reuters

Pep Guardiola lifted silverware for the first time as Manchester City manager after his side outclassed Arsenal in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley Stadium.

Goals from Sergio Aguero, captain Vincent Kompany and David Silva decided a one-sided affair as City completed the first leg of their bid to win the Treble.

Following their shock FA Cup exit at the hands of Wigan Athletic, this was the perfect response.

City were assisted by a woeful Arsenal performance that lacked any sort of defensive cohesion, which piled more pressure on under-fire manager Arsene Wenger.

Here are three talking points…

City complete first piece of the Treble puzzle

Talk of an unprecedented Quadruple fell by the wayside with defeat to Wigan last Monday, but there was no hangover from a City side that remains the standard-bearers this season.

Truthfully, this was not a dazzling performance, the like of which we have seen so often under Guardiola.

It didn’t need to be. So poor were Arsenal that they barely put up any resistance once Aguero had lifted the ball over David Ospina to open the scoring.

The second piece of the puzzle is the Premier League title, which City seem destined to clinch long before the campaign officially finishes.

By then, we will know whether the Cityzens are still in the hunt for the Champions League – the one trophy that has eluded them since the club was purchased in 2008 by Sheikh Mansour. Few would bet against it.

If their current form continues, there is a real prospect they could emulate Manchester United‘s historic achievement from 1999.

Shambolic Arsenal contribute to their downfall

On their last visit to a Wembley final, Arsenal sprung a surprise by beating much-fancied Chelsea in the FA Cup.

Wenger would have been hoping for a repeat dose here.

What he got, however, was an utterly listless performance that bordered on shambolic.

The Gunners may not be at the same level as City, but they were the architects of their downfall at times.

Shkodran Mustafi’s embarrassing defending enabled Aguero to strike a key blow from which Arsenal never recovered.

Wenger will be fuming with his side’s display but he must take some of the responsibility.

He had set-up with three at the back in an attempt to stifle City’s creative influences, but his own players showed very little ambition.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang couldn’t quite meet a Mesut Ozil cutback when the game was goalless, which was as close as the Gunners got to beating Claudio Bravo.

Despite having signed a contract to the end of next season, Wenger’s future beyond this summer must be in doubt.

Captain Kompany supplies a fitting finish

City’s goals were scored by three of the longest-serving players at the club.

How fitting it was that one of those on the scoresheet was Kompany.

It has been another frustrating season for the skipper, who has suffered from a litany of injuries that have limited his involvement in the first team.

But he got the nod ahead of John Stones and repaid his manager’s trust with an assured display that reminded everyone why he has been such an important figure during the club’s astonishing rise.

The goal itself, which doubled City’s advantage, was more of a poacher’s finish than that of a defender.

Kompany found himself in the right place at the right time to divert the ball past Ospina.

His emotional celebration underlined how much it meant to him.

Kompany’s best days may be behind him, with the arrival of Aymeric Laporte increasing competition for a place at the heart of defence.

But whatever the future hold for the Belgian, he will forever be regarded as a legend among the Etihad faithful.

Rob is a freelance writer, specialising in football, who previously worked as a sports journalist at the Dorset Echo. A long-standing AFC Bournemouth supporter, Rob can often be found on the terraces at the Vitality Stadium. Follow him on Twitter - @RobMeech


One winner and one loser as Arsenal set to retain Nacho Monreal

Arsenal’s decision to keep Monreal will have a major impact on the squad.



Photo: Getty Images

New Arsenal boss Unai Emery is overseeing considerable changes at the Emirates Stadium this summer but the services of Nacho Monreal will be retained.

Highly-linked with a move to LaLiga side Real Sociedad, Mundo Deportivo now state the Basque side have ended their pursuit of the 32-year-old as Arsenal want to keep him at the club and would demand a significant price for the full-back.

Having entered the final 12 months of his contract, the former Malaga man is unlikely to remain at Arsenal for the long-term but the decision to keep the Spain international for the 2018-19 season will have a major impact on the squad.

Here, we have identified one winner and one loser from the latest developments.

Winner: Joel Lopez

Arsenal are set to sign 16-year-old full-back Joel Lopez from the clutches of Barcelona, the Evening Standard states, and will sign a scholarship deal with the Gunners before securing his first professional deal next March when he turns 17.

The highly-rated teenager will join Arsenal’s U18 ranks and will then look to develop into a first-team asset for the Gunners, following in the footsteps of compatriot Hector Bellerin, and Monreal’s experience could provide a key learning curve.

Boasting 22 Spain caps, Monreal is the ideal role model for a young player like Lopez and can help craft the teenager into his long-term replacement.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Loser: Sead Kolasinac

Signed on a free transfer from Schalke last summer, WhoScored stats show Sead Kolasinac and Nacho Monreal shared first-team responsibilities last season as the Bosnian appeared 27 times in the Premier League and Monreal featuring on 28 occasions.

However, just ten of those appearances came in Kolasinac’s preferred position at left-back as Monreal was first-choice for the Gunners on the left-side of defence and that is likely to remain the case in 2018-19 under Unai Emery.

While Kolasinac’s versatility is a tremendous asset to the squad, it limits the 25-year-old in his quest to become one of the first names on the team-sheet and Goal state that Arsenal will eye a new signing if Monreal leaves, suggesting Emery does not rate Kolasinac that highly.

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Free agent Max Meyer would be Arsenal’s ideal Aaron Ramsey replacement

The Gunners would suffer a huge loss if Ramsey was to leave but this starlet would ease the pain.



Max Meyer
Photo: Getty Images

Unai Emery’s work in the market so far at Arsenal ahead of the 2018-19 season has impressed but there is still significant room for concern.

The Gunners added Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi to their squad following the losses of Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere but are at severe risk of experiencing a huge blow, as Aaron Ramsey’s future remains shrouded in speculation.

Wales international Ramsey, a figure many fans believe would be the ideal captain at the Emirates Stadium, has less than 12 months remaining on his contract and the Gunners may be forced into a sale as they look to avoid losing the 27-year-old on a free transfer next year.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

While Emery himself has stated that Ramsey is a crucial part of his plans for next year, his own admission that he does not know whether the former Cardiff City man will renew should send alarm bells ringing in north London.

“This is one question for the player, the club, but my opinion – I said to them – I think he is one important player for me. I’m very happy with him. Every day every training session he is with the ambition I want. He is working with quality. I want to work with him.”

Unai Emery discusses Aaron Ramsey’s future

Arsenal are confident of securing a deal with Ramsey, according to Football.London, but plans need to be made for the worse case scenario – and the Gunners could find their own bargain in the market in the form of Max Meyer.

Available on a free transfer after leaving Schalke, the 22-year-old Germany international is a target for Arsenal, alongside Liverpool, and Emery’s side are ready to do a deal as long as he lowers his staggering wage demands, according to TransferMarketWeb.

Capped four times by Germany, and a member of his nation’s squad at the 2016 Olympics, Meyer is widely regarded to be one of the best midfield prospects within European football and his versatility means he could easily fill the void left by a potential departure of Ramsey.

(Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Additionally, his preferred position as an attacking midfielder could see Meyer stand as the best long-term replacement for compatriot Mesut Ozil at the Emirates Stadium, which would then allow Switzerland international Granit Xhaka to partner new signing Lucas Torreira in a deeper midfield role.

While speculation suggests that any more for Meyer does not necessarily hinge on Ramsey’s future, signing the Germany ace with the squad in it’s current shape would leave huge questions marks over who will play for Unai Emery.

Significant depth is required for the gruelling campaigns in both the Premier League and Europa League but a player like Meyer will demand first-team assurances, which he is unlikely to get if Ramsey renews his deal.

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Could Arsenal’s new project lure Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles to London?

The Newcastle captain had a terrific debut season in the Premier League.

Liam Thomas



Jamaal Lascelles
Photo: Getty Images

Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles enjoyed a terrific debut season in the Premier League and as such has found himself the subject of many transfer rumours since the window reopened on the 17th May.

However, according to the Chronicle Live, it would take a hefty transfer fee to make Newcastle part ways with one of their prized assets and captain.

Despite this, Arsenal should consider making a move for Lascelles to strengthen their defence and there’s no hiding the fact new Gunners boss Unai Emery is concerned about his sides defensive frailties.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

At 24 years of age, Lascelles has the youth and energy needed to survive the harsh Premier League calendar and this is something Arsenal’s defence has lacked in recent seasons; a defence which under Arsene Wenger became lazy and lax.

New Arsenal boss Unai Emery has already invested in Borussia Dortmund’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos to strengthen his back line, but it might take a considerable amount of persuasion to convince Lascelles to follow suit and make the Emirates stadium his new home.

However, it’s not every day a club of Arsenal’s statue come knocking, and to be part of the clubs new exciting chapter may be the perfect antidote to lure Lascelles away from St James’ Park.

“Nothing changes. The speculation might not even be true. Since I was a kid, there’s always been teams interested, speculation, paper talk and stuff on Twitter, and things like that. It doesn’t mean anything to me.”

Newcastle captain, Jamaal Lascelles, regarding the speculation surrounding his future.

But what would Lascelles bring to Arsenal back line? Leadership and stability, two traits that Arsenal’s centre back duo of Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi ultimately lacked throughout the 2017/18 Premier League season and two qualities that the Gunners desperately need to be reincorporated into their defence.

It remains to be seen whether or not the new Arsenal boss will break the bank to bring the talented centre back to North London. However, there are not many other defenders in Europe who could come in and do the job as well as the 24-year-old Newcastle captain would.

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