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