Guardiola clinches first trophy in English football as Man City thrash Arsenal
Manchester City crushed Arsenal 3-0 at Wembley.
Pep Guardiola claimed his first trophy in English football as Manchester City powered to a 3-0 win over Arsenal in the Carabao Cup final.
Sergio Aguero set the Premier League leaders on the way to victory with the opening goal before second-half strikes from the outstanding Vincent Kompany and David Silva finished off the Gunners at Wembley.
It was an emphatic response from City after their bid for a quadruple came to an end with a shock defeat to League One Wigan on Monday.
Although it was not visible during the game, City boss Guardiola stirred some controversy pre-match by again wearing a yellow ribbon, despite attracting a charge from the Football Association for doing so this week.
Yet if any sanctions follow over what has been considered a political gesture it was not something that concerned the Catalan, who won 21 trophies at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, as he opened his City account.
The task was not initially straightforward. As is customary, City dominated possession but Arsenal, having surprisingly reverted to a back three, were in no mood to let them dictate matters and that made for scrappy opening.
City applied some early pressure without threatening the goal and it was Arsenal who had the first clear-cut chance after a break by Jack Wilshere. The ball broke to the returning Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but Kyle Walker did enough to put him off with a sliding challenge and Claudio Bravo saved with his feet.
A lot of City’s success this season has been based on neat interplay but they showed they can vary their style when necessary and did so effectively to negate Arsenal’s pressing tactics and take the lead after 18 minutes.
In a rare example of City going route one, Bravo cleared downfield and, after Shkodran Mustafi allowed the ball to bounce over his head, Aguero had a run on goal.
Mustafi paused to his cost, appealing for a foul, and had no chance of stopping the Argentinian as he calmly lobbed over the advancing David Ospina for his 199th goal in City colours.
Words were exchanged on the touchline between Guardiola and opposite number Arsene Wenger but, in a game in which VAR was being used, any complaints from the Frenchman were futile.
Arsenal failed to learn from that goal and Hector Bellerin was caught out by another long ball from deep and was booked for fouling Kevin De Bruyne.
The Gunners’ defensive problems increased as Nacho Monreal was forced off injured and City captain Kompany headed over.
Kompany also showed his defensive prowess by calmly easing Arsenal’s record signing Aubameyang off the ball to end a dangerous run.
City went close again before the break after Ospina palmed away an Aguero cross but De Bruyne fired into the side-netting.
Kompany shot wide early in the second half but City had a scare after a mix-up between Walker and Bravo almost let in Aubameyang, but the forward fouled the keeper in his haste.
Arsenal soon rued that missed opportunity as Kompany doubled City’s lead just before the hour, turning in Ilkay Gundogan’s low shot from De Bruyne’s cleverly taken corner.
That broke Arsenal and Silva ended the contest by finishing a slick move with a lethal left-footed strike after 65 minutes.
City played out time and even allowed Gabriel Jesus, returning after two months out with a knee injury, a late taste of the action.