5 things we learned from the Carabao Cup final
City ran out comfortable winners at Wembley.
Pep Guardiola won his first trophy in English football as Manchester City lifted the Carabao Cup following a convincing 3-0 victory over Arsenal.
City striker Sergio Aguero opened the scoring at Wembley before second-half goals from captain Vincent Kompany and David Silva wrapped up the win.
Here, Press Association Sport looks at five things we learned from Sunday’s final.
Aguero loves playing against Arsenal
City’s all-time leading goalscorer Aguero once again proved to be the Gunners’ nemesis. The Argentinian – who moved on to 199 goals for the club with the 19th-minute opener – has now scored in each of his last five appearances against Arsene Wenger’s men in all competitions, a feat he has previously achieved against both Tottenham and Sunderland. After easing Shkodran Mustafi off the ball, the 29-year-old showed his trademark killer instinct with a calm lob over David Ospina for his 30th goal of the season.
Wenger’s League Cup wait goes on
Gunners boss Wenger was aiming to become only the eighth manager to win all three top-flight trophies by lifting his first League Cup. While he has often used this competition to blood youngsters, resulting in plenty of early exits, he has now reached three finals – 2007, 2011 and 2018 – without success. Arsenal have not lifted the trophy since beating Sheffield Wednesday in the 1993 final. With constant speculation about the 68-year-old’s future and the fact he is the second oldest manager in the Premier League, it remains to be seen how many more opportunities he will have.
Wigan defeat was just a blip
Both teams came into this game on the back of embarrassing defeats. While Arsenal still progressed to the last 16 of the Europa League on aggregate following their humiliating loss to Swedish side Ostersund, City’s dreams of a quadruple were ended by a shock FA Cup exit to League One Wigan. It was not completely vintage City at the national stadium but they bounced back convincingly, demonstrating a winning mentality as Guardiola collected his first silverware in England to continue the Premier League leaders’ quest for a memorable treble.
Aubameyang still finding his feet in England
There was plenty of excitement among Arsenal fans when Aubameyang arrived for a club record £56million last month but he failed to make much of an impact on this game. The Gabon international will undoubtedly need more time to adjust to English football following only his third game in a Gunners shirt. He wasted an excellent early chance with the game still level and was generally outshone by in-form City striker Aguero. With Alexandre Lacazette sidelined through injury, Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott moved on, and Danny Welbeck a peripheral figure, Wenger’s men will need their recent recruit to start firing soon as they seek an unlikely top-four finish.
City have a Plan B
Guardiola’s team have become renowned for their neat and tidy, fast-flowing football but they proved they can mix up their approach if necessary. Arsenal made a decent start to the game and were pressing City high up the field, leading goalkeeper Claudio Bravo to go route one with a long kick which sent Aguero racing clear to score the first goal. The change of tack had some similarities to City’s 4-1 victory over Tottenham in December, a game in which they began to play a number of 30-to-40-yard passes in order to successfully unlock stubborn opposition.